Monthly Archives: April 2015

Trigger Point Dry-Needling for Body Pain

shoulder-pain-acupuncture-santa-monicaIn many cases, body pain is due to shortened muscles. When muscles are overused or overstressed they can develop areas of tension called trigger points. A trigger point may be experienced as a “muscle knot” or sometimes a radiating pain from a muscle into a joint area. These areas of muscular tension are the body’s way of trying protecting itself from further injury, however the end result can be a painful conditions that persists for years after the trigger point forms.

Traditional acupuncture can be very helpful in addressing muscular pain, however sometimes a more direct approach to muscular pain is more effective.  A style of treatment called Trigger Point Dry-Needling is a modern anatomical approach to muscular pain and inflammation.  Like acupuncture, dry needling is also performed using a solid filament needle. However, in the case of dry needling, a needle is inserted into muscle directly at a palpable myofascial trigger point. When a needle is inserted into a trigger point, sometimes the muscle will have a characteristic “twitch response” as the muscle relaxes and lengthens back to its healthy state. Generally the procedure involves repetitive manipulation of the needle in the myofascial trigger point in order to produce this local twitch response.

Why do Dry Needling?

First off, this method is generally more effective at relieving muscular pain than almost any other therapy.  The results of dry needling can be immediate as the muscle is stimulated to lengthen and a muscular knot releases. Deactivation of trigger points can provide immediate relief from pain symptoms.

Another reason dry needling is especially effective where other treatment methods fail, is that dry needling can target muscular pain in deeper muscles of the body.  Some deep muscle fibers are very difficult, if not impossible, to reach using massage and other manual therapies.  Some of the deep muscle groups that are well treated by dry needling include the low back, buttock and deep shoulder muscles.

When Should I Expect to See Results?

Sometimes this method can provide immediate relief from pain symptoms.  In other cases, the condition will take 1-2 days to respond to the treatment before there is a dramatic improvement.  The response time will depend on the body part and muscular structure involved.  After trigger points are relieved, the muscles can be trained to work with corrected range of motion.