Dry needling is also called trigger point dry needling or myofascial trigger point dry needling. The word “myofascial” is made up of the roots “myo” (which refers to muscle) and “fascia” (which refers to the tissue that connects muscle).
Muscles sometimes develop knotted areas called trigger points. These trigger points are highly sensitive and can be painful when touched. They are also often the cause of referred pain (or pain that affects another part of the body). Clinicians push thin solid needles through the skin into trigger points. The needles are used to stimulate the tissue, not to inject the medication.
Pain affects how your body moves. It is thought that dry needling changes the way the brain and muscles talk to each other to let the system return to a more normal movement pattern.
A patient may experience different sensations when being needled, muscle soreness, aching and a muscle twitch when a needle is inserted is considered to be a good sign. The needles may be placed deeply or superficially, for shorter or longer periods of time, depending on what type of pain is being treated and how long it has lasted. Shorter periods of time would mean that needle would stay in the muscle for seconds, while longer periods could mean 10 to 15 minutes.
What kinds of pain does dry needling treat?
Dry needling is almost always used as a part of an overall plan that will likely include some type of exercise, manual therapy, heat therapy, and education. Dry needling is used to increase range of motion that may be limited due to muscle tightness or scar tissue. Dry needling may also treat:
- Joint problems
- Disk problems
- Migraine and tension-type headaches
- Jaw and mouth problems (such as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD)
- Repetitive motion disorders (like carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Spinal problems
- Pelvic pain
- Night cramps
- Phantom pain
- Post-herpetic neuralgia (pain left behind by shingles)
Who should not have dry needling treatments?
- People who are very afraid of needles
- People who are not able to understand the treatment
- Pregnant women
- Any patient who is considering dry needling should consult his or her doctor first. This is particularly true for people taking blood thinners and people who are only recently recovering from surgery
instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). IASTM is a manual technique that uses steel instruments to diagnose and identify an array of acute and chronic soft tissue injuries and dysfunctions. The history of IASTM dates back 2,000 years ago to traditional Chinese medicine and a technique called Gua Sha, which literally means “scraping.” Practitioners would take jade or stones and scrape the person’s skin until it became red or even bruised. This was intended to help with muscle injuries, increase blood flow to the areas, and help with cell regeneration, growth and repair.
How is IASTM performed today?
Today’s instruments are made from dense stainless steel. Practitioners will slide the instrument across the tissue and any abnormalities in tissue texture will be amplified through the instrument into the practitioner’s hands. These tools can be used diagnostically to identify any areas of restriction, fibrosis or scar tissue. Once those areas are identified, different shaped tools will be used to manipulate the soft tissue. The goal is to cause a micro-trauma in the area to stimulate an inflammatory response and allow the body to properly start the healing process in a controlled manner.
Why use IASTM?
The tools are extensions of the physical therapists’ hands. They allow therapists to feel things they may not normally feel, similar to the practice of dry needling. From a patient perspective, it allows physical therapists to be very specific and localized, treating a specific area in a short time period compared to other manual therapies of the past. From a therapist standpoint, it really saves the practitioner’s hands from having to do a lifetime of manual work.
Kinesiology taping (KT) is a therapeutic tool and has become increasingly popular within the sporting arena. Taping has been used for a long time for the prevention and treatment of sporting injuries. KT is not only used for sporting injuries but for a variety of other conditions. It was developed by Japanese chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase in the 1970s with the intention to alleviate pain and improve the healing in soft tissues. There are many proposed benefits to KT, including proprioceptive facilitation; reduced muscle fatigue; muscle facilitation; reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness; pain inhibition; enhanced healing, such as reducing edema, and improvement of lymphatic drainage and blood flow[
Cupping therapy is one of the oldest and most effective method of releasing toxins from body tissue and organs. It is also known as vacuum cupping, hijama cupping, horn treatment, etc. It is a practice in which the therapist puts special cups on the skin to create suction. This causes the tissue beneath the cup to be drawn up and swell causing increase in blood flow to the affected area. Enhanced blood flow under the cups draws impurities and toxins away from the nearby tissues and organs towards the surface for elimination.
Muscle Energy Techniques (MET)
Muscle energy technique is a form of manual therapy in which muscles own energy is used to induce relaxation and promote pain relief. This technique is especially useful when the cause of pain and stiffness are muscles.
Once in spasm, the muscle fibers are held in a state of constant contraction limiting the range and causing . By using the muscle energy technique the physical therapist will make muscles relax and lengthen to an optimal level to perform and heal.