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What is a myofascial trigger point injection?

A myofascial trigger point injection is a minor procedure to treat a painful area in a muscle, called a trigger point. Trigger points are tight knots or bands of muscle or connective tissue that are painful to touch. They can also send pain to other body parts and cause muscle spasms and weakness. 

A myofascial trigger point injection involves injecting a long-acting anesthetic, and sometimes an anti-inflammatory medicine, into the trigger point. Myofascial trigger point injections can relieve your pain and improve mobility for several days or weeks, or even longer. You can also repeat these injections as needed to maintain results.

Trigger points commonly occur in the buttocks, back and neck, but can affect almost any body part. Trigger points can be active or latent. Latent trigger points cause muscle weakness and stiffness, but generally cause pain only with pressure. Active trigger points cause pain even at rest. Trigger points can also cause other symptoms, such as headaches and eye pain.

A myofascial trigger point injection is a minor procedure, but it still involves some risk. It is only one method used to treat painful muscles. Discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.   

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Nov 5, 2013

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Medical References

Alvarez DJ, Rockwell PG. Trigger Points: Diagnosis and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Feb 15;65(4):653-661. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11871683. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy – What Is It? National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists. http://www.myofascialtherapy.org/myofascial-therapy/index.html. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Shah JP, Heimur J. New frontiers in the pathophysiology of myofascial pain. Pain Pract. 2012;22(2):26-33. http://www.aapainmanage.org/pain_management_news/NEW_newsletter/email/images/shahmyfascial.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Trigger Point Injections. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. http://www2.mskcc.org/patient_education/_assets/downloads-english/416.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Trigger Point Injections. University of Wisconsin. http://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/B_EXTRANET_HEALTH_INFORMATION-FlexMember-Show_Public_HFFY_1126652225741.html. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Trigger Point Injections: What to Expect. Kaiser Permanente. http://www.permanente.net/homepage/kaiser/pdf/16161.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2013.

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