Dry Needling for Painful and Tender Muscles
Trigger points are painful, hard and tender areas in muscles that can create pain locally and also radiate out from its source. They can develop anywhere in the body secondary to sudden injury, muscle overload, emotional tension or repetitive micro trauma. Many things including poor posture, tension type headaches and low back pain have all been associated with trigger points.
For many years, physical therapists have worked to treat trigger points with many things such as heat, massage, electrical stimulation and stretching. But with the advent of dry needling being included in our North Carolina Physical Therapy Practice Act, PT’s now have an additional therapeutically effective tool that can be used to help individuals who’ve been recalcitrant to other modalities and procedures, plus increase the rate of improvement. Bruce Buley has completed advanced certification in dry needling which requires 148 hours of supervised instruction and application.
Dry needling is not accpuncture, although there is a high correlation of acupuncture points with trigger points (somewhere between 70 and 92% from comparison studies). Rather, dry needling is a neurophysiological treatment where very small diameter needle pierces the skin over the tender trigger point to get a desired, “twitch response” for greatest therapeutic effectiveness. Following the, “twitch response”, there ensues a relaxation or release in the area of the trigger point which brings overall pain relief.
If you’ve had an accident or have stress in your neck causing neck pain or headaches or have muscle aches that are causing acute or chronic pain in any other part of your body, dry needling may well be a helpful intervention to get over the pain. Of course, in getting rid of the pain, you want to make sure that you reduce the chances of it recurring. Physical therapy can both help to alleviate the pain and help you to prevent it from occurring again.