Trigger Point Dry Needling May Offer Muscle Tension Relief

That knot in your shoulder or that pain in your hip could be the result of a trigger point in the muscles in your body.

Trigger points are hard swellings or knots you feel in your body when muscles and the body tissue around them are tight.

For Diane McCauley, a dietitian at ProMedica Flower Hospital, her trigger points made it hard to function.

“I was getting migraines about every other day and had a lot of shoulder and neck pain, Diane said. “It got so bad it was really hard to type at work with the migraines so I was taking migraine medication daily.”

To help relieve her symptoms, Diane’s doctor referred her to a type of physical therapy called Kinecta-Core trigger point dry needling. During trigger point dry needling therapy, a therapist uses an acupuncture needle to release active trigger points in the body.

“It’s totally different from acupuncture,” said Kathie Zastrow, a physical therapist with ProMedica Total Rehab. “We treat the trigger point by putting a needle in and bringing it up and down to get what they call a spontaneous electrical activity that causes that trigger point to contract and totally dissipate so it’s an instant release of that trigger point.”

According to Zastrow, when you have a trigger point in a muscle, there is poor blood flow in that area of the body resulting in a long-term achy, stiff feeling and there may be extreme tenderness when you press it. Trigger point dry needling can relieve trigger points in the body to restore function, increase range of motion, improve posture and increase strength. It can be used to treat a number of conditions including tennis elbow, carpel tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain and plantar fasciitis to name a few.

“It can release tension around blood vessels and nerves so a lot of times people will feel a warming sensation or regain strength from doing trigger points down their back,” said Zastrow.

Trigger points develop when you move improperly or complete prolonged or repetitive activities. Instead of contracting and releasing regularly, muscles have to hold the same position for an extended period of time and over time are unable to relax.

After six weeks of trigger point dry needling therapy, Diane said the difference is night and day.

“I’ve cut my medication in half and hope to get rid of it,” said Diane. “I walk taller and straighter; my shoulders are back and just feel so much better.”

For more information about ProMedica Total Rehab‘s dry needling services, please call 419-824-1323.

Watch 13ABC’s coverage of ProMedica’s dry needling service in this video.