South Jersey Sports Acupuncture uses trigger point dry needling to release knots and spasms in tight, painful muscles.
Trigger point dry needling (or “dry needling” for short) is a western style of acupuncture treatment. This therapy is sometimes called intramuscular needling, biomedical acupuncture, trigger point needling, or myofascial needling. You may also hear it referred to as dry needle therapy, dry needling acupuncture, or dry needle treatment.
All these different names refer to the same treatment. This technique targets the nervous system through neuro-points, trigger points, motor points, and tight tender points in the fascia. In traditional Chinese medicine, these tender areas are called ashi points, and they don’t necessarily follow the Chinese meridian system.
Dry needling treatments release tight, spasming muscles anywhere in the body. This type of acupuncture therapy can be particularly effective for addressing and alleviating neck pain, shoulder pain, lower back pain, hip pain, and knee pain, and along the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine. Dry needle therapy is even useful for treating migraines, piriformis syndrome, sciatica, and plantar fasciitis.
Trigger point dry needling therapy, when done by a properly trained acupuncturist, has very few side effects. Soreness after the treatment can occur, along with occasional bruising. If done skillfully, the treatment should not be overly painful, and it will bring about benefits that include pain management and acceleration of the healing process.
Trigger points: Janet G. Travell, MD, (1901–1997) defined a trigger point as “a hyper-irritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band. The spot is tender when pressed and will give rise to characteristic referred pain, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena.” Myofascial trigger points can be inactivated by acupuncture dry needling.
Motor points: Also known as motor end plates or neuro-muscular junctions. These are locations where the nerves in the body connect to the muscles. When dysfunction occurs at the motor point, a cascade of events take place, called the pain-spasm cycle. The muscle in spasm squeezes the nerves and blood vessels that feed it (ironically, it takes energy and nourishment via the blood vessels to sustain the contraction). Not only is the muscle’s nourishment cut off, but its ability to clear out waste products is also compromised. This lack of nourishment coupled with accumulated waste products creates pain and inflammation within the muscle fibers, which causes further contraction, which causes more pain, in a vicious cycle. Acupuncture dry needling can effectively break this cycle and restore the muscles back to health.