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Trigger points are painful “knots” or spasms of the muscles, which prevent them from relaxing. This can create painful areas that are tender to pressure. A trigger point injection utilizes a numbing medication, injected within the muscle, to help it relax and alleviate the pain.

Conditions Trigger Point Injections Treat

A trigger point injection can help with pain in tender areas of muscle and connective tissues, most commonly in the neck, shoulders or back. University of Maryland Pain Medicine specialists may target multiple locations, depending on your pain. They can reduce the pain of:

  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Spastic areas

Patient Information: Trigger Point Injection

How do I prepare for the procedure? 

Your healthcare professional will provide you with full instructions for how to prepare. It is helpful to wear loose clothing, or we will provide a gown. If you are pregnant or taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin) or Plavix, let your doctor know. You should arrange to have someone drive you home from the procedure. 

What happens during the actual procedure?

You will sit or lie down for the procedure, depending on the location of injections. Your doctor will identify tender areas of pain and mark them for injections. Your pain specialist may use an ultrasound machine to visualize your muscles through the skin. Once identified, the tender areas will be injected with a numbing medication via a small needle. The procedure takes about 10-15 minutes. 

What will happen after the procedure?

You will remain in our recovery area about 10-15 minutes. You receive verbal and written discharge instructions and may go home with your driver after your doctor authorizes discharge.

You may have some mild soreness after the procedure for several hours.

What are the risks of the procedure?

As with most procedures, there is a rare risk of bleeding, infection or allergic reaction to the medications used. Some mild short-term side effects may occur including soreness or bruising at the site of the injection.