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Trigger Point Injection

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about a trigger point injection?

A trigger point injection is used to relax a muscle knot. This helps relieve pain. You may be able to have more than one trigger point treated during a session.

How do I prepare for a trigger point injection?

  • Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare. Arrange to have someone drive you home after the injection.
  • Tell your provider about all medicines you take, including pain medicine, blood thinners, and muscle relaxers. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for the injection, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the injection.
  • Tell your provider about all your allergies, including to any pain medicine.

What will happen during a trigger point injection?

  • You may be sitting or lying, depending on where the trigger point is located. Your healthcare provider will feel for a knot in the muscle. He or she may mark your skin over the knot.
  • Your provider will put a needle through your skin and into the trigger point. Saline (salt solution), pain relievers, or other medicines may be pushed through the needle into the trigger point. Your provider may use only a dry needle (no medicine). He or she will pull the needle almost all the way out and then push it in again. He or she will repeat this several times until the muscle stops twitching or feels relaxed.
  • Your provider will remove the needle and stretch the muscle area. He or she may apply pressure to the area for 2 minutes. A bandage will be put over the injection site to prevent bleeding or an infection.

What should I expect after a trigger point injection?

  • You may feel pain relief right away. It is normal for some pain to start again 2 hours later. An ice pack or over-the-counter pain medicine can help lower the pain.
  • You may feel sore in the injection site for a few days. If you need another injection in the same area, wait until the area is not sore.
  • Your healthcare provider may give you specific activity instructions to follow at home or recommend physical therapy. In general, you should try to stay active. Avoid strenuous activity for the first 3 or 4 days after the injection.
  • Do not have more injections if you still have trigger point pain after 2 or 3 injections.

What are the risks of a trigger point injection?

You may have a severe allergic reaction to pain medicine injected. The injection may be painful, or you may be sore where you got the injection. You may bleed, bruise, or develop an infection in the injection area. The injection may cause you to feel faint. Rarely, the needle may cause muscle or blood vessel damage or your lung may collapse if you get the injection near your chest.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.