What are Trigger Points?
Dry Needling - Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyper-irritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle. They produce pain locally and in a referred pattern and often accompany chronic musculoskeletal disorders.
Acute trauma or repetitive micro-trauma may lead to the development of stress on muscle fibers and the formation of trigger points.Patients may have regional, persistent pain resulting in a decreased range of motion in the affected muscles. These include muscles used to maintain body posture, such as those in the neck, shoulders, and pelvic girdle.
Trigger points may also manifest as tension headaches, tinnitus, temporomandibular joint pain, with decreased range of motion in the legs and low back often combined with pain.
How do we determine if it is a Trigger Point?
Palpation of a hypersensitive bundle or nodule of muscle fibre of harder than normal consistency is the physical finding typically associated with a trigger point. Palpation of the trigger point will elicit pain directly over the affected area and/or cause radiation of pain toward a zone of reference and a local twitch response. Various modalities, such as manipulative therapy and dry needling, are used to deactivate trigger points. Trigger-point dry needling has been shown to be one of the most effective treatment modalities to deactivate trigger points and provide prompt relief of symptoms.
Why is this treatment so Effective?
When a muscle or group of muscles is initially injured it is usually recommended that treatment can’t start for 72 to 96 hours.
However the muscle can be needled straight away. This is a highly effective as treatment by itself but is far more effective when combined with other treatment modalities for use in injury treatment, rehabilitation and injury prevention.
Consider the following situation (this is a true story and happened to Brian Gregan):
An athlete pulls up in a race with a hamstring tear. This is scanned and a grade 2 tear is diagnosed. The athlete is devastated as he is now facing a long layoff from training and competing.The Physiotherapist linked with the Athletic’s Association of Ireland recommended the normal 6 week layoff and rehabilitation period. The athlete was devastated because he had qualified for the World Junior Championships which were 9 days away.
How does a muscle heal quickly?
Take the excess tension out of it.Trigger point dry needling is the only effective treatment that can be used on an injury immediately. I treated the injured area and surrounding areas that day with dry needling.
However, to remove more unnecessary tension from this injured muscle I realigned this athlete’s hips correctly. He had a slight anterior pelvic tilt which increased tension in the hamstrings.
The combination of these 2 treatment modalities immediately allowed this muscle to heal very quickly.
The the end result was a massive PB 9 days later at the World Championships in Poland.