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What Are Trigger Point Injections for Pain Relief

A back muscle spasm is an extremely common cause of acute and chronic neck pain and back pain. Spasms often present as painful “knots” within the muscles. The muscles of the neck and back can be so uncomfortable that they also restrict range of motion.

In addition to physical therapy, trigger point injections are also used to help reduce the inflammation and irritation within the muscle.


What is a Trigger Point?

A trigger point is a particulary sensitive area in the muscle tissue (myofascial) that becomes painful when pressed or squeezed.

How Do Injections Help Reduce Trigger Point Pain?

The injections loosen the knots built up in the muscle tissue that are the cause (or one of the causes) of pain. By allowing the area to relax and release tension, the tearing and stretching of the tissue can subside.

A common use for trigger point injections is to reduce or eliminate back spasms.

trigger points
trigger point injections


Once you have decided to have the trigger point injection, the following events take place:

  • If taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications daily, stop these medications at least three days before the injection.
  • The trigger point injection is usually performed in the physician’s clinic.
  • The skin in the area of the injection is cleaned.
  • The skin may be numbed with a local anesthetic.
  • A small needle is inserted into the muscle causing the spasm-related pain (a steroid is sometimes injected also).
  • A local anesthetic is injected into the muscle.
  • The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.
  • You will be able to leave the clinic after the injection.
  • Soreness in the area of the injection may be experienced for 24 to 48 hours after the injection.
  • Typically, patients are prescribed to participate in an active physical rehabilitation program after the injection.