When a muscle is injured,small contractures (knots ) may develop & although the muscle may look quite normal these tiny contractures prevent the muscle from fully relaxing.the muscle will be in a constant shortened state & may give a continuous ache.this muscle shortening prevents the muscle from being fully stretched leading to loss of joint movement.
these knots or trigger points tend to develop in the same locations for most people ,which is why it is possible for a trained clinician to locate them so quickly. trigger point pain can go unresolved for many months or even years causing pain & lack of mobility .these trigger points can cause referred pain to other body parts in the vicinity of the original injury ,shoulder trigger points can refer down the arm or up the neck even giving headaches .Most offer trigger points do not respond to normal pain killers or even anti inflammatories ,they may mask the pain but will not get rid of the causing factor hence the continued return of that same old nagging shoulder,neck or back pain.
In the technique known as dry needling, and acupuncture needles are inserted through the skin and moved gently back and forwards through the trigger point. The effect is to de-activate the trigger point and relax the muscle.
Dry needling uses the same needles as traditional acupuncture, but is backed by a different philosophy. It is important to note, however, that dry needling is best used in combination with other physical therapy interventions and a rehabilitation plan that covers exercise based recovery as appropriate.
Any person of any age can be treated, but those who have had more recent injuries and are younger require less frequent treatments than those who have had their injury for some time.
For the rest of the day after a dry needling session, your muscles can feel achy and tired, a bit like they have done a big workout at the gym. It is a good idea to drink plenty of water, and rest if tired. If you are used to the needling, it should be fine to continue your normal activity that day, but after your treatment, you may choose to take a day off from any competitive sports.