Dry Needling/Trigger Points And
Motor Point Functional Acupuncture
For Musculoskeletal Conditions
To most effectively treat musculoskeletal pain and injury I utilize the Exstore Assessment System and Orthopedic Acupuncture techniques such as dry needling and motor point functional acupuncture. The benefits of using a multi-layered approach are quick and lasting results. However, how quick and how long are dependent on the severity and duration of the issue. Some patients experience immediate pain relief while other more complicated and chronic cases might take longer.
While most traditional acupuncture styles focus on balancing the body’s organ systems, Orthopedic Acupuncture specifically targets the muscles and joints and the nerve pathways that affect them. The goal is to restore normal, pain-free movement. Painful inputs to the nervous system from injuries, arthritis, over training or repetitive use, can cause muscles to become weak. When a muscle is weak, the joint that it attaches to doesn’t move properly resulting in more pain or further injury. For most people, this type of muscular weakness and pain can be treated with just a few treatments. Orthopedic acupuncture has been shown to “neuromodulate” (affect how the nerves fire) thereby restoring the muscle’s normal ability to contract and release.
When forming a treatment plan it is imperative to determine exactly where the pain is originating from. Often the location of the pain isn’t where the root of the problem is. This is because often there is referred pain from a weak or inhibited muscle higher up the chain.To assess the location of an injury or weak/inhibited muscle I utilize a specific Orthopedic Assessment System called Exstore. This system allows me to ascertain very quickly and easily where the problem is. By focusing on the girdle stabilizers and releasing motor inhibition at the neuromuscular junctions this ensures an effective treatment with lasting results..
The “Pain-Inflammation-Pain” Cycle
Dr. Anthony Lombardi, who created the Exstore System, describes this pain-inflammation-pain cycle as “neurogenic inflammation”. When certain nerves are irritated in a way that produces pain, they release inflammatory chemicals like CGRP, Bradykinin, and Neurokinin A. These chemicals cause a domino effect which creates, you guessed it, more pain. Acupuncture and dry needling have been shown to reduce the release of these pain-causing chemicals and actually cause the release of PAIN-KILLING chemicals. This breaks the Pain-Inflammation-Pain cycle and helps get your body on the path to healing and pain-free movement.
Dry needling is a term coined by Janet Travell and David Simons and is defined as inserting a “dry” needle (i.e. without a medication or drug) into a myofascial trigger point. Trigger points are hyper-irritable points in the skeletal muscle that are formed in taut bands of muscle fiber. This can lead to neuromuscular dysfunction resulting in local and referred pain, decreased function and increased stress on surrounding structures. Acupuncture needles are inserted into these trigger points to elicit a twitch response to release and restore normal function to the muscle.
Motor point functional acupuncture
Motor points are similar to trigger points but more importantly are found at specific sights in the body where the motor nerve enters the muscle belly. The motor nerve is responsible for telling the muscle to contract and release, and also for preventing overstretching. By stimulating the motor point with an acupuncture needle it creates an action potential, which causes fasciculation (twitching) and a “resetting” of the muscle spindle fibers. This can be extremely helpful in cases of overuse injuries such as tendinitis, which are the result of imbalance within opposing muscle groups. One muscle is excessively shortened while the antagonist is excessively lengthened. This puts excessive tension on the tendons, predisposing the area and surrounding structures to injury. By needling the motor point it resets the dysfunctioning muscles, restores function and relieves pain. By stimulating the motor nerve to induce a fasciculation in the muscle can feel like a workout! It is quite normal to have some soreness after a treatment. Applying heat and stretching is recommended after all motor point treatments.