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Myofascial pain syndrome is a condition in which pressure on trigger points causes pain in the muscles, sometimes in parts of the body that seem unrelated.

Pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome persists or becomes worse over time.

Symptoms of Back and Neck Myofascial Pain

Signs and symptoms of the condition may include:

  • Deep aching pain
  • Pain that persists or becomes worse over time
  • A tender knot in a muscle
  • Difficulty sleeping as a result of the pain

Some individuals may develop fibromyalgia as a result of the condition.


Causes of Back and Neck Myofascial Pain

The pain may be caused by:

  • Repetitive motions
  • Stress-related muscle tension
  • Previous injury
  • Overuse
  • Poor posture

Trigger Point Injections

Back and neck myofascial pain may be effectively treated with trigger point injections.

Risks and Side Effects

The risks of a trigger point injection treatment are very low. Patients may experience rare complications such as bleeding, or post-injection pain at the injection site. Common side effects include temporary soreness, lightheadedness, dizziness or numbness at the injection site.


Who Qualifies?

Patients with muscle pain that has not responded to pain medication and physical therapy may benefit from having a trigger point injection. Patients should speak to their physician to determine if a trigger point injection is right for them

What to Expect During the Procedure

During a trigger point injection procedure, the doctor will press on the muscle to locate the area in pain. An ultrasound is typically not required. The injection site will then be cleaned with an antiseptic to help reduce the risk of infection.

The patient may sit or lie down as the doctor inserts a small needle into the area and injects a mixture of anesthetic and steroid. The injected medication may be an anesthetic such as bupivacaine (Marcaine) or lidocaine (Xylocaine), a mixture of anesthetics, or a cortisone medication that may be mixed with lidocaine.

The anesthetic medication will block pain receptors within the nerves surrounding the muscle, helping to reduce the pain signals sent to the brain. Steroid medication will reduce the inflammation and swelling of tissue around the nerves.

In some cases, patients may not need any medication and may receive “dry needling”, which involves simply inserting a needle into the trigger point. This helps to separate, relax and lengthen the muscle fiber for pain relief. Dry needling may be used in patients allergic to anesthetic medication.

Patients may have several trigger point injections during one visit. The procedure typically takes only a few minutes and patients are free to go home immediately afterwards.

After the Procedure

Once the procedure is completed, patients can freely use the muscle. Patients should avoid strenuous activity for the next few days.

Some patients may experience significant pain relief immediately after the injections, while others may need to wait a few days or weeks for the pain to subside.

For maximum relief, patients may need physical therapy, massage therapy, medication and a combination of at-home therapies.