Treatment of Myofascial Trigger Points
There are several ways to treat myofascial trigger points. We recommend to combine the Dry Needling treatment with Remedial Massage to get the best possible outcome. It is important that you are an active participant in your own treatments and well being. You might be asked during the treatment for example to move your arms in certain positions or to relax certain muscles as much as you can during a Remedial Session. The main participation within this treatment combination will be feedback, us therapist can feel where some tension is stored, but every body is different and sometimes pain is where the muscles haven’t changed their normal structure yet.
What Is a Trigger Point?
A myofascial trigger point is a hyperirritable spot in a muscle which is located in a tight band, which feels like a knot and is painful to touch. This hypersensitive spot or “knot” can give characteristic referred pain, referred tenderness and other referred symptoms in areas other then where the muscle is located.
Dry Needling may cause an increase in pain which can last from a couple of hours to several days, followed by an expected improvement in the overall pain state. This increase in pain is mainly caused by the “twitching” of the muscles. It is also related to over activity of the shortened muscle bands that have not been released, or sometimes there is a temporarily increased spasm of the treated muscles.
To lessen the discomfort, some authors suggest taking extra Vitamin C starting 1-2 days prior to the treatment and for 1-2 days following the treatment.
Like any medical procedure, there are possible complications. While these complications are uncommon, they do sometimes occur and must be considered prior to giving consent to the procedure.
• Any time a needle is used there is a risk of infection. However, we are using new, disposable and sterile needles, and infections are extremely rare.
• A needle may be placed inadvertently in an artery or vein. If an artery or vein is punctured with the needle, a hematoma (or bruise) will develop.
• If a nerve is touched, it may cause paresthesia (a prickling sensation) which is usually brief, but it may continue for a couple of days.
• When a needle is placed close to the chest wall, there is a rare possibility of a pneumothorax (air in the chest cavity).
During the Treatment you will be in a comfortable position; usually lying on your stomach or on your back. When the needle is inserted you may feel a little prick though the skin. Following this, you will not feel the needle at all when the muscle is relaxed. If the muscle is tight, there is some soreness. When the needle hits the trigger point, there will be a local twitch response. This twitch response is very brief and unexpected. It can be momentarily painful. During your visit, multiple trigger points in several areas will be treated.
Before / After the treatment
Prior to the treatment, a history will be taken and a thorough physical therapy examination will be performed. Patients need to inform us if they have conditions such as pregnancy, if they have implanted devices like a pacemaker, a bone stimulator or other electrical stimulators, and if they use medications like blood thinners or immunosuppressants.
After the Treatment the treated areas might be sore. This is a muscular soreness (see “Side Effects”). Therefore, modalities to decrease muscle pain will be helpful: heat and stretching.