Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is a treatment performed by our competent and licensed physical therapists, which uses thin needles to insert into a tight and tender trigger point within a patient’s muscle(s) that are associated with pain, decreased flexibility, or decreased muscle function.
TDN is relatively new to the United States, though it’s growing rapidly. Needling therapies are commonly practiced by physical therapists in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and South Africa.
Although TDN and acupuncture both employ the use of an acupuncture needle, the two practices are fundamentally different in many aspects. TDN is based on the anatomy and neurophysiology of muscles, and its aim is to ‘needle’ altered or dysfunctional myofascial tissues in order to improve and/or restore function. We only use the highest quality disposable sterile acupuncture needles when perform TDN and adhere to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
While the mechanism of how TDN works is not completely understood, it has been shown that TDN may:
- Release myofascial tightness and tenderness associated with trigger points
- Reduce pain
- Relax muscle
- Improve muscle function
- Improve the blood flow of the involved muscles
Additionally, TDN can be used in many neuromusculoskeletal disorders, examples of which include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Tennis/Golf Elbow
- Muscle Tendonitis/Injury
- Shoulder and scapula problems
- Repetitive Stress Injuries
- Neck Pain
- Back Pain
- Joint Pain and Dysfunction
- Plantar Fasciitis
During treatment, most people mildly feel the needle insertion through the skin. The physical therapist is then typically working to get a muscle twitch of the inserted muscle, and the muscle twitches can cause a very brief cramping and/or muscle soreness sensation. Feeling this sensation is necessary and actually a good sign for correct needling of the trigger points.
You may notice less pain and improved mobility almost immediately in some cases, but it usually takes a few treatment sessions to feel lasting positive effects. While side effects of TDN are very rare, some muscles may be sore in the treated area for a day or two. Most people find the soreness is tolerable and easily alleviated by applying cold or heat and/or stretching.
If you believe you may be a candidate for TDN, call today to speak with one of our therapists, or schedule an appointment to determine if TDN is right for you.