You may be one of the 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain, defined as pain that lasts longer than six months. Chronic pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating. With chronic pain, signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for months, or even years. This can take both a physical and emotional toll on a person. For many people living with chronic pain, finding pain relief can be tough. A lot of trial and error is involved to find a pain treatment that works.
According to research in the pain management field, more than one in four American people have a musculoskeletal condition that requires medical help. Chronic back pain, is the leading cause for disability, and accounts for most of the common musculoskeletal pain conditions treated in the United States. This pain can be treated nonoperatively or surgically, depending on the severity of the problem, neurologic symptoms, and the physician’s opinion.
Treatments for pain are not limited to medications or surgery, and there are many options available that can yield positive results without increasing risks or side effects. There is a unique procedure called dry needling, or trigger point therapy, that has helped many people find relief from chronic back pain.
What is Dry Needling?
Trigger points are tight bands of muscle fibers, which can be very sensitive to touch and compression. There are three types of trigger points: active, latent, and satellite. Active trigger points are considered spontaneous pain. Latent trigger points cause pain when pressure is applied. Satellite trigger points occur in the specific area of pain that radiates from active trigger points.
Dry Needling, also known as myofascial trigger point dry needling, is an advanced technique for trigger point release. Modern acupuncture notably includes both traditional and Western medical acupuncture, while dry needling is a form of western medical acupuncture.
While acupuncture is intended to target specific trigger points and stimulating nerve impulses with the use of filiform needles (acupuncture needles), dry needling is used to treat disorders and pain, by stimulating a specific trigger point that may be causing pain to go to other parts of the body. During the dry needling treatment, needles are slowly inserted into the tight muscle, gently manipulated, and removed after a short period of time, and repeated in other muscles on different parts of the body if needed.
The goal of dry needling is to create what is known as a muscle twitch response. The muscle twitch response is basically a sub-cortical reflex, meaning that the nerve impulse travels to the spine and back out to the muscle rather than going up to the brain. At this time, the physiology of the muscle membrane and tissue is changed.
In the case for someone who is suffering from chronic low back pain (lumbar spine), dry needling, will target exactly where the trigger point is present, and when the needle is put into the trigger point, the tension in the tight band of muscle tissue in your spine or back is released, allowing the muscle to stretch and contract more effectively. This results in decreased strain of the muscles, and improved stimulation and strength so the muscle can do its job more effectively.
At Endeavor Rehab Center, our physical therapists can incorporate the dry needling procedure into their available treatment options, to help treat patients release muscle tension and pain with the use of acupuncture needles. Besides low back pain, dry needling treats those with sciatica, knee pain, rotator cuff syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and other muscle strains.
To request your appointment for dry needling, call Endeavor Rehab Center at (512)-284-7192 or request an appointment online.