Dry needling and trigger point therapy has been used for decades in Chinese Medicine and acupuncture but it’s become an increasingly popular drug-free way to treat musculoskeletal pain.
Just like in acupuncture we use thin, dry needles — “dry” in the sense that they don’t inject anything into the body — that are inserted through the skin into the muscle tissue. Our main focus is muscle and connective tissue and trying to restore mobility.
How Does It Work?
When muscles are overused or strained, they can develop knotted areas called myofascial trigger points that are irritable and cause pain.
An overused muscle undergoes an energy crisis where, because of prolonged or inappropriate contraction, the muscle fibers are no longer getting adequate blood supply. If it’s not getting that normal blood supply, it’s not getting the oxygen and nutrients that will allow the muscle to go back to its normal resting state.
The tissue near the trigger point becomes more acidic, and the nerves are sensitized, which makes the area sore or painful.
Stimulating a trigger point with a needle helps draw normal blood supply back to flush out the area and release the tension. When muscles are this tense, even the prick sensation can also fire off nerve fibers that stimulate the brain to release endorphins – the body’s own “homemade pain medication.”
To locate a patient’s trigger points, we palpate, searching for painful, knotty areas and perform orthopedic testing.
Once a trigger point is located, the we insert a needle through the skin directly into it. At times we might need to move the needle around a bit to try to elicit what’s called a local twitch response, which is a quick spasm of the muscle. This reaction can actually be a good sign that the muscle is reacting.
Some patients feel improvement and change in their pain and mobility almost immediately after a dry needling session.
It’s important to continue to keep the affected muscles loose by continuing to move them within their new range of motion after treatment, he adds. There can be some soreness for 24 to 48 hours afterward.
Our Sessions Combine Dry Needling, Gaston, Cupping, and KT Taping As Needed To Address Fascia and Muscle Pain Mobility Issues