Trigger Point “Dry Needling” & E-Stim

Rivertown Acupuncture often employs the use of trigger point needle therapy to alleviate various types of muscle pain.

This is a highly effective and direct type of needling that is based upon the diagnostic system of referred pain and trigger points developed by Janet Travell, M.D. Rather than acupuncture points, the practitioner inserts a needle into muscle trigger points and manually stimulates.

The advantage of trigger point therapy is that it may be the most powerful and quickest way to combat pain. Needle insertion is deeper than most acupuncture styles, and there may be some odd sensations as the muscles sometimes fasciculate, or jump in response. The disadvantage is that they can become quite sore as a result. Lactic acid has been released, similar to when you complete a workout, and soreness may occur for the next 24 hours. Stay well hydrated and take a warm Epsom salt bath after treatment.

Trigger Point or “dry needling” is especially effective for acute muscle pain, such as when you “throw out” your back, or pull a hamstring, and for chronic repetitive stress pain, such as sciatica, carpal tunnel or plantar fasciitis.

Because acupuncture treats the entire body, it is jarring to isolate and treat only the group of muscles causing pain. Trigger point needling should always be done in the context of an acupuncture treatment. This technique requires, on the part of the practitioner, dexterity, skill and thorough anatomical knowledge.

Electric stimulation via needles inserted into trigger points may also prove very effective. The use of trigger point therapy with e-stim helps “trick out” the nervous system, which has become habituated to its pain pattern. Through these techniques, the nervous system disassociates sensory perception from pain, and will re-pattern itself. Often a condition can be treated and resolved within several sessions.

Stress and other factors may cause muscle pain and activate trigger points. If the underlying cause is not resolved, a trigger point may return. As Jesse Cannone explains in his book, The 7 Day Back Pain Cure, this occurs because:

“a trigger point has healed, that area of the muscle tends to have a good memory. The trigger point has “branded” it, so to speak, so the next time you experience stress, overwork certain muscles, or fail to drink enough water, that muscle can contract again in the same place, activating the same trigger point as before.”

Acupuncture treatments, combined with conscious adjustments of diet and posture, followed by a regimen of stretching exercise, may all contribute toward long lasting resolution of any pain syndrome.

Read more about the other techniques we employ on our Acupuncture Services page.