Trigger Point Needling evolved as a very effective way to treat muscle pain. Dry needling was coined as a term to distinguish it from hypodermic needles, but it’s essentially the same concept and uses the same acupuncture needles as the trigger point therapy practiced by acupuncturists. The primary difference between dry needling and trigger point is that acupuncturists, aside from 200 hours of bioscience with anatomy and physiology, complete at least 600 hours acupuncture education with a minimum of 650 supervised clinical hours, as opposed to what is often a weekend course for physical therapists. Trigger point therapy is a very skilled approach to muscle work, requiring a deft hands, and a clear understanding of underlying organs and musculature, Dry needling for physical therapists has not been approved in New York.
Trigger point needling is different from traditional acupuncture in that the practitioner inserts needle into fascia or muscle rather than acupuncture point. Trigger point needling can sometimes hurt – you may experience your muscles jump or other such sensations, as they fasciculate in response to the needles – but almost always there is relief and greater ROM. Sometimes, you may feel worse after the treatment, but drink water to cleanse lactic acid from your body, and if possible, take a warm bath with Epsom salts. Any discomfort should resolve within 24 hours.