Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is a treatment for muscular tightness and spasm which commonly follows injuries and often accompanies the degenerative processes. This muscular tightness and spasm will cause compression and irritation of the nerves exiting the spine. When the nerves are irritated, they cause a protective spasm of all the muscles to which they are connected. This may cause peripheral diagnoses, such as carpel tunnel, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, decreased mobility and chronic pain. Small, thin needles are inserted in the muscles at the trigger points causing the pain referral. The muscles would then contract and release, improving flexibility of the muscle and decreasing symptoms.
TDN gives us as therapists the ability to get deeper in the muscle tissue and treat a trigger point for less time than traditional massage or manual therapy. TDN usually provides immediate changes to tissue after treatment. This is not acupuncture. It is based on the trigger point having increased electrical activity and causing the referral of symptoms experienced by the patient. Therefore if you treat the active trigger point related to one’s pain you can treat the direct cause instead of associated symptoms.
Our muscles connect into joints and apply forces to those joints. If a muscle is too tight or hurts when activated, this can cause joint compression and restriction in motion. When one joint is not moving properly all the adjacent joints will also be negatively affected. Muscles then contribute to joint tension and restriction. By treating the muscles and getting an immediate response through TDN. As physical therapists we are able to have positive outcomes and return the patient to normal activity.
If you have had an injury that has not been adequately treated with other therapies or interventions, dry needling may be a good solution for you. Common things treated by therapists are as follows:
- carpal tunnel
- neck pain
- low back pain; disc injury; sciatica
- hip and knee pain
- post surgical rehab
- foot and ankle pain; plantar fasciitis
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