Trigger points are areas of muscle where the fibres have become shortened. They can be caused by poor posture, injuries, overexertion and so on, and produce maintained taut bands of muscle. This causes hypersensitivity around the trigger point or further away (referred pain).
Dry needling, also known as invasive physiotherapy of myofascial trigger points, is the introduction of an acupuncture needle into the muscle, in the trigger point area (the area of maximum muscle spasm).
This ‘puncture’ causes the central nervous system to begin the process of regenerating the damaged muscle so it is able receive more nutrients. If the ‘puncture’ has been successful, the muscle contraction is prevented. The muscle then relaxes completely and symptoms such as local and referred pain are improved.
Dry needling can be used in many conditions:
– Muscle injury and tendinopathy, tendonitis.
– Acute and chronic sprains, pulled ligaments.
– Osteoarthritis: when trigger points are activated in the affected joint they trigger a separate pain from the pain of the arthritic joint itself. This can be improved by the use of dry needling.
– Pain and dysfunction of the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ).
– Nerve pain.
– Other conditions.