Aug 29

How to Ease Muscle Pain

Often our muscles become tight or “spasm” due to overuse or injury. When our muscles become tight, they develop “knots” which are known as trigger points in the muscle. Trigger points are areas in the tissue which have increased levels of biochemicals, and are associated with inflammation and increased pain. Trigger points can be a source of acute or chronic pain, and have also been shown to cause referred pain into other areas of the body. For example, most people know the heart can refer pain to the neck, jaw and most commonly the left arm. Just like our organs, our muscles do the same.

Dry needling is a great treatment to consider when treating muscle, tendon and other soft tissue pains. It is a unique procedure designed to specifically target and restore muscle function, with an emphasis on improving tissue healing and restoring normal tissue function. Dry needling involves placing an acupuncture needle into a local trigger point. This will cause a “twitch” and the muscle responds by lengthening and changes chemical properties of the muscle. This leads to improved function and decreased pain. Pain pills or steroid injections will also help to reduce muscle pain, but are not a solution for restoring the function of an injured soft tissue. By “masking” the pain with medications or injections, you still run the risk of further tissue damage.

Dry needling should not be confused with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) acupuncture. TCM is based on the use of “meridians” (or channels) derived from ancient Chinese philosophy and culture. Acupuncture needles are placed in specific acupuncture points along these meridians. Modern dry needling is based on current medical science and research known and accepted by orthopaedic, neurologic and pain management physicians.

Dry needling is effective for the treatment of muscle and nerve disorders including, but not limited to, lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, sporting injuries, repetitive strain injuries, fibromyalgia, whiplash and many more.

If you are interested in Dry Needling, talk to your physiotherapist today!

Jennifer Smith, PT