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Trigger-point Injections

Trigger points are tender points in muscles. They involve the muscle and the connective tissue around the muscle (called the fascia), and feel like a nodule, a knot, or a band under the skin.

The exact causes of trigger points are not well understood but are not explained by an infection or local trauma. Trigger points may develop from acute muscle overload or strain, surrounding joint arthritis, emotional distress leading to tension, fibromyalgia, muscular trauma and fatigue.

Trigger-point injections can provide significant pain relief from muscular pain. Myofascial pain may cause significant discomfort and distress. For example, treatment of trigger points may help alleviate tension headaches associated with certain trigger points or may help alleviate some of the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

How It Works

During a trigger point injection, you will work with your provider to find the areas of maximal tenderness.

  • You will be positioned in a way that allows your physician to best feel your trigger points.
  • Your physician will clean the affected area with an antiseptic and feel the area until a trigger point is identified that corresponds with your pain.
  • A small needle will then be inserted into that trigger point.
  • A combination of local anesthetic (numbing medication) and steroids can then be injected.  Steroids (cortisone) are potent anti-inflammatories which can provide substantial reduction in pain.
  • The needle will be removed, and a sterile dressing applied.


Although extremely rare, risks may include bleeding; infection; allergic reaction to the medication; damage to tendons, muscles,  and surrounding organs; and prolonged increase in pain. Your Center for Pain Management physician will take all necessary precautions to try to prevent these complications.