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Dry Needling Can Reduce Pain Related to Trigger Points

Dry Needling Can Reduce Pain Related to Trigger PointsPosted on November 3, 2013

By Stephanie Penny, PT, DPT, OCS

Do you have painful and tender muscles?

Myofascial trigger points are irritable, hard “knots” within a muscle that may cause pain over a large area, leading to difficulty performing everyday tasks.  When a trigger point is touched, it hurts, and can also cause pain in a nearby area.  They can develop anywhere in the body in response to sudden injury, muscle overload, poor posture or repetitive microtrauma.   Sitting for hours hunched over a computer is an example of microtrauma.  Common locations for these problems are the arm and neck.

These points often become hypersensitive, are painful when compressed, aggravate existing pain and affect the ability to contract muscles in a normal manner.  They contribute to impaired range of motion and sensitivity to stretch.

Trigger-point dry needling is a treatment that involves a very thin needle being pushed through the skin to stimulate a trigger point.  Dry needling may release the tight muscle bands associated with trigger points and lead to decreased pain and improved function.

In a study published in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, researchers analyzed the results of the best clinical studies that have been conducted thus far to determine if dry needling helps to reduce neck and arm pain.  The researchers determined that dry needling can be effective in providing pain relief.   They also determined that more research needs to be done to determine whether dry needling is better for this condition than other treatment options.

Dry needling is a specialized treatment for trigger points provided by physical therapists trained in the technique and is one possible treatment option for neck and arm pain, usually combined with stretching and exercises to correct muscle imbalances and posture.

For more information on the treatment of myofascial pain, contact Stephanie Penny, PT, DPT, OCS, at (773) 665-9950 or complete the form below.