Trigger Point Dry Needling

Trigger Point Dry Needling: An Option for Injury Treatment and Prevention
By Taryn Cohn PT, MSPT, COMT, OCS

dry-needling-shoulderTrigger Point Dry Needling – Tired of taking pain medication and sitting on the sidelines of life with injuries that never seem to heal? Whether you are an elite athlete, weekend warrior or chronic pain sufferer the subject of the blog series for the next four weeks may be your answer. We are going to be discussing a treatment technique called trigger point dry needling (TDN). For many, any treatment with the word needling as part of the title is immediate grounds for dismissal. However, throughout the course of this series I hope to dispel some of the mystery and fear in order to reach those who may be searching for a new option in pain treatment and injury prevention.

TDN is a technique designed to treat the neuromuscular systems based on pain patterns, muscular dysfunction and other orthopedic signs and symptoms. Simply put, when one part of the body is not doing its job other parts of the body begin to take over performing tasks they weren’t necessarily designed to do. When this happens it can result in muscle, nerve or bone damage causing pain and impaired function. The body’s natural defense mechanism against pain is to protect itself with exaggerated muscle contraction, often referred to as guarding / spasm. However, over a period of time this muscle guarding may result in the development of a trigger point, which is a hyperirritable area of taut skeletal muscle. Once a trigger point develops it can be very difficult to get that tissue to release. There are several effective techniques for treating trigger points; TDN is an excellent one that can provide immediately noticeable results.

The way TDN works is a certified practitioner will insert a fine filament needle into the taut band of tissue in order to provoke what is called a deep twitch response in the muscle. When this happens it is like hitting the reset button. The muscle will immediately release and lengthen. The amazing part about this technique is not just the immediacy of the muscular release and the noticeable improvement in mobility, but also the referral pattern of symptoms the recipient will feel. For example, a trigger point in the hip may send a sensation of relief all the way down the outside of the leg. As pain sufferers we often believe we know the generator responsible for our pain, but sometimes its origin may surprise you.

In the course of the next several blogs I hope to show you how TDN has worked to help sufferers with conditions like chronic neck, back, hip and shoulder pain, head aches, plantar fasciitis, persistent running / sports injuries and general overuse syndromes to overcome their pain and return to a full active lifestyle.