Trigger Point (Muscle) Injections

Treating Residents of South Central Missouri and North Central Arkansas

Trigger point injections (TPI) are a commonly used pain relief option for many patients. Trigger points are knotted muscles that form when the muscles do not relax. TPI is a procedure to help treat the muscles containing trigger points. Trigger points can frequently be felt under the skin and are painful when you press on them. These points can cause varying types of pain and can occur in almost any part of body. However, the most common locations for trigger points are in the back of the head, shoulders, and neck. In these locations, trigger points can cause pain in the neck area, headaches, and shoulder pain. This pain can be amplified by anxiety or stress. Trigger points located in the lower back can lead to back pain, butt pain, or leg pain, due to irritated nerves.

Several medical conditions that are commonly treated using TPIs include:

  • Tension headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome – chronic tissue pain around the muscles

The Procedure

TPIs are usually performed in the office and do not require the patient to be sedated. Wherever you are feeling pain, you will be asked to remove the clothing over that area. Your skilled doctor will identify and locate the trigger points by gently pressing on your skin and feeling for knots. The doctor may mark these points with a pen, depending on if there are multiple trigger points responsible for your pain. Once your doctor identifies and marks the points, an alcohol-based cleaning solution will be used to clean the area on your skin. Then, the trigger points will be injected with medicine comprised of steroid and numbing medication. If necessary, multiple injections will be conducted at once. When the needles are taken out, you will be bandaged at the site of the injection. That will conclude the brief procedure.

What to Expect Afterwards

There are no limits or restrictions on what you can do following the procedure. You are encouraged to physically engage the injected muscle in order to help spread the medication around. Most patients report feeling instant pain relief and improved functionality. Some patients may not feel the full effects of the medication until three to five days after the procedure. The effects of the injection may last anywhere from a couple weeks to several months. Fortunately, the injections can be repeated for long term pain relief and they can be performed in two to three month intervals. The reason for the time intervals is because the patient may experience excessive steroid effects if the injections are spaced too closely together.

To learn more about TPIs, please call Interventional Pain Management, a department of BRMC, at (870) 508-5900.