Manual Therapists around the world are now using this technique to effectively treat acute and chronic orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions.
Trigger Point Dry Needling is a treatment technique, which uses small filament type needles to release tight muscles with the goal of permanently reducing muscle pain and dysfunction. Manual Therapists around the world are now using this technique to effectively treat acute and chronic orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions.
Dry Needling vs Acupuncture
Trigger point dry needling is a treatment that uses fine filament (acupuncture) needles, but that is where the similarity to acupuncture stops. Acupuncture tends to be a more superficial treatment that focuses on restoring energy or “Qi” to the body. It is thought there are blockages that can be restored by properly placing needles along energy channels called meridians.
Whereas, trigger point dry needling directly treats the neuromuscular system affecting muscle tightness, joint mobility, and symptoms of pain and irritation. Testing active trigger points with an EMG needle has shown that there is increased spontaneous electrical activity (SEA) at this active trigger point. It is kind of like buzzing or uncontrolled electricity causing the nerve muscle connection to trigger the muscle to be tight. This tightness can cause limited range of joint motion resulting in a reduction of normal functional activities of the whole body.
Recent research has reported that there are numerous inflammatory and pain producing chemicals at an active trigger point causing pain and dysfunction of the muscle, consequently affecting the local nerves and joints. The dry needle has been shown, when causing a local twitch response (LTR) in the active trigger point and muscle fiber, to decrease or completely reduce that spontaneous electrical activity and reduce or eliminate the irritating chemicals in that active trigger point. This release can immediately improve range of motion, decrease pain, and improve function. Patients often feel a significant cramping sensation from the twitch response but then feel an immediate improvement of their symptoms.
Utilising trigger point dry needing in manual therapy practice allows the patient and the therapist a hastened return to strengthening and exercise that results in a faster return to function and improved maintenance of that dysfunction.