TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING

Frequently asked questions

WHAT IS TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING?

Trigger point dry needling is an invasive procedure in which a solid filament needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at
a myofascial trigger point. Physical therapists utilize trigger point dry needling in the treatment of Myofascial pain. A myofascial trigger
point consists of multiple contraction knots, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle.

IS TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING SIMILAR TO ACUPUNCTURE?

There are many similarities and differences between trigger point dry needling and acupunture. Licensed physical therapists in a growing number of
states can use trigger point dry needling under the scope of their practice (NC is one of those states). In contrast to most acupuncture schools,
trigger point dry needling is strictly based on Western medicine principles and research.

HOW DOES TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING WORK?

The exact mechanisms of trigger point dry needling are unknown. There are mechanical and biochemical effects. Based on the pioneering research
by Dr. Jay Shah and colleagues at the National Institue of Health, we know that inserting a needle into trigger points can cause favorable biochemical
changes, which assist in reducing pain. It is essential to elicit the so-called local twitch responses, which are spinal cord reflexes. Getting
local twitch responses with trigger point dry needling is the first step in breaking the pain cycle.

WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS CAN BE TREATED WITH TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING?

Trigger point dry needling can be used for a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Muscles are thought to be a primary contributing factor to the
symptoms. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, neck, back, and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer's elbow),
headache to include migraines and tension-type headaches, jaw pain, buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strain, calf tightness/spasms). The
treatment of muscles has the greatest effect on reducing the pain mechanisms in the nervous system.

IS THE PROCEDURE PAINFUL?

Most patients do not feel the insertion of the needle. The local twitch response elicits a very brief (less than a second) painful response. Some
patients describe this as a little electric shock; others feel it more like a cramping sensation. Again, the therapeutic response occurs with the
elicitation of the local twitch response and that is a desirable reaction.

ARE THE NEEDLES STERILE?

Yes, we only use sterile needles.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE TREATMENT?

Most patients report being sore after the procedure. The soreness is described as muscle soreness over the area treated and into the areas of
referred sypmtoms. Typically, the soreness lasts between a few hours and two days.

WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER HAVING THE PROCEDURE DONE?

Our recommendations vary depending on the amount of soreness you have and on individual response to the treatment. Recommendations may include
applying heat or ice over the area, gentle stretches and modifications of activity.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE PROCEDURE TO WORK?

Typically, it takes several visits for a positive reaction to take place. Again, we are trying to cause mechanical and biochemical changes
without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulatiove response to achieve a certain threshold after which the pain cycle
is disturbed.

WHY MIGHT MY DOCTOR NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING?

In the U.S., trigger point dry needliong is a relatively new method for treating myofascial pain and not everyone is already aware of this effective
modality. Feel free to inform your doctor about this treatment option. It is upon all of us to educate others about new and innovative ways
to treat pain.

WHERE DOES TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING FIT INTO THE ENTIRE REHABILITATION PROGRAM?

Generally speaking, trigger point dry needling is the modality of choice when it comes to treating patients in the clinic. More frequently, trigger
point dry needling is needed in the beginning in order to break the pain cycle. Once that is achieved, other treatment options are introduced.

ONCE I AM FEELING BETTER, HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO COME BACK TO MAINTAIN MY PROGRESS?

The musculoskeletal system is under constant pressure from gravity, stress, work, etc. A regular exercise program combined with good posture can prevent
many problems. If the pain comes back, "tune-ups" are recommended to treat and prevent serious injury.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROCEDURE AND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE LICENSED TO PERFORM IT?

visit www.painpoints.com and choose "For Patients" and then "Helpful Resources".