Category Icon 2/12/13

“Life changing” treatment available for muscle pain and limitations

Adena Health Center – Waverly is now offering a new technique, Trigger Point Dry Needling for patients with muscle pain or limited range of motion. Physical therapist Jenna York, PT, DPT was first exposed to the technique while in Australia, and has now brought it to Waverly.

Trigger Point Dry Needling, or TDN, uses acupuncture needles, but otherwise has no relationship to acupuncture. Dry needling is mechanical stimulation of trigger points, areas where the muscle has become shortened and is typically very tender. Trigger points can cause pain within the muscle, as well as in areas remote to the muscle.

“I have never experienced such immediate relief. It was uncomfortable only for a few seconds and then immediately I could feel relief,” said Becky Jarrells, a patient who tried the procedure after a consultation with York.

According to York, dry needling is used to produce a muscle twitch. This twitch is essentially the muscle resetting itself.

“The overall result for a patient after an effective treatment is an immediate improvement in range of motion and/or a decrease in pain,” she says. “Following dry needling, some people experience varying degrees of muscle soreness and fatigue, similar to the soreness one may experience after a hard workout.”

York adds that this is merely a treatment modality and would not comprise an entire physical therapy treatment session – the remainder of the session would be spent correcting the underlying strength imbalances, postural dysfunctions and movement dysfunctions that lead to the development of trigger points. An example of this would be upper trapezius trigger points that cause headaches.

“Jenna explained in great detail what the muscle was doing and what the needle was doing,” Jarrells said. “I’ve done it several times and each time it was less number of needles, because the trigger points were less and less each time. “

Other conditions that often respond well to TDN include: acute muscle strain, whiplash injury, chronic overuse/postural dysfunction, tension headaches, and tendinopathies.

“It felt like I didn’t even need to go there in first place when left. It’s amazing to me the immediate relief. I can’t stress that enough!” said Jarrells.

A typical TDN treatment lasts about 10-15 minutes and is a component of a 45-minute physical therapy treatment session. Usually between two and six muscle groups are treated, but it all depends on the unique presentation of the patient. As the patient progresses through physical therapy, TDN is typically required less frequently. On average TDN will be used once a week for between two and six sessions.

“When you get to the point where you can have a normal day and not think of aches and pains, it’s well worth it. It’s a life changing procedure,” said Jarrells.

If you are interested in TDN, a physician’s referral for physical therapy must be provided. If appropriate, TDN will be implemented in the PT plan of care following a thorough evaluation. You can contact the Waverly office at 1-877-942-3362.