Stimulate your immune system to heal you with dry needling
Dry needling has become a go to treatment for stubborn trigger points and muscle conditions. The process is pretty simple: locate the target tissue and attack it with a thin acupuncture needle (5-10 acupuncture needles can fit inside the mouth of a typical hypodermic needle). In the case of trigger points, sometimes the muscle that is being treated will twitch or jump, this is a sign of trigger point release.
When treating more chronic conditions like tennis elbow or piriformis pain, it is not as common to get the twitch response. Needle stimulation causes tissue relaxation and a return to its resting length, which, in turn, will allow proper blood flow, restore proper pH, and inhibit continuous inflammation. (2) Just inserting the needle into the body can provide enough stimulation to release natural opioid like chemicals to help kill pain (2).
Trigger points (2):
Decrease muscle strength and flexibility
Encourage continued muscle contraction
Increase surrounding tissue acidity
Reduce blood flow
Decrease oxygen levels
Contribute to an increase in inflammatory chemicals
Trigger points are created by activities that require repetitive, continuous muscle use (ex. poor posture is notorious for creating trigger points in the upper shoulders and around the shoulder blade) and/or by trauma. See the definition of a trigger point to the right. When present, they prevent full muscle lengthening, thereby limiting range of motion, and weakening the muscle. (1)
All of that translates to pain and dysfunction for you. Sometimes trigger points can go away on their own, but most times they don’t. They can be the unexpected driver of a wide variety of pain and dysfunction in your body because while a trigger point will create pain in it’s immediate vicinity, it also refers pain to other areas of the body. That’s what makes these guys so tricky, the pain going down your arm could actually be coming from a trigger point underneath your shoulder blade. Luckily, extensive research has been done by Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons to elucidate these referral patterns. To see some of these click here.
The following can be effectively treated with dry needling:
Headaches (migraines, tension, etc)
Low back pain
Any many others
Need To Knows
- Safe and Effective way to treat stubborn muscle conditions
- 5-10 Acupuncture needles fit in the mouth of a blood drawing needle
- Enhances blood flow to injured and oxygen deprived tissue
- Stimulates the release of your body’s own pain killing chemicals
Is it safe/will it hurt?
Dry needling is incredibly safe when performed by a trained professional. Because the needle is so thin the risks are very low and any discomfort is kept to a minimum. Most people cannot even tell a needle was inserted, but only realize it when the trigger point is reached. At that point, a sore sensation or a quick pinch may be felt. The side effects may include some soreness within the muscle being treated, some slight bruising, or some slight redness around the sight of needle insertion. If you have any fear of needles or have fainted in the past when getting a shot or giving blood, please let your healthcare provider know so that he/she can be adequately prepared and position you accordingly.
Does insurance cover this?
Currently dry needling is offered as a cash service in most offices, as most insurance companies have not allowed it as a billable service yet. Because more and more research is showing how effective it can be, it is anticipated that it will become a covered service in the future.
If you are curious if dry needling is right for you, talk to me or a qualified healthcare provider to discuss your case. Dry needling has been proven to be an emerging therapy that is surpassing some of the traditional ways muscle pain has been treated in the past. So, before you accept that pain is a permanent part of your life, give this a try, it may be just what you need.
1. Bron, Carel, and Jan D. Dommerholt. “Etiology of Myofascial Trigger Points.” Current Pain and Headache Reports 16.5 (2012): 439–444. PMC. Web. 8 June 2017.
2. Osborne NJ, Gatt IT. “Management of shoulder injuries using dry needling in elite volleyball players.” Acupuncture in Medicine 2010;28:42-45.
Dr. Kira Cervenka
“The steps you take don’t need to be big. They just need to take you in the right direction.”