What is Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN)?

TDN is a newly emerging advanced treatment technique in which a solid fine filament needle is inserted into the muscle to treat the soft tissue, namely the neuromuscular structures affecting proper posture, mobility, strength and function.

It is quickly becoming a preferred technique used by physical therapists to effectively treat myofascial pain, limited mobility, muscular inhibition, and dysfunctional muscular recruitment patterns.

The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle, known as trigger points.

Other terms commonly used to describe trigger point dry needling, include dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy.

With TDN, the needle itself and the effects it produces within the tissue is the treatment.

TDN uses a small, solid filament needle which is inserted in a trigger point(a contracted & painful knot within the muscle) to create a local twitch reflex of that muscle. This local twitch reflex creates a central nervous system (brain & spinal cord) response that has been shown through research to decrease muscle tension, reduce chemical irritation, improve flexibility and decrease pain.

What is a Trigger Point?

A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.

Why Dry Needling?
In cases when trigger point dry needling is used by physical therapists, it is typically 1 technique that’s part of a larger treatment plan.

Physical therapists use dry needling with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion and healthy movement. Preliminary research supports the use of TDN to decrease pain, reduce muscle tension, and normalize function of the motor end plates that innervate a muscle spindle to contract.

Is Trigger Point Dry Needling Acupuncture?

No, Trigger Point Dry Needling is based on Western medical research and principles, whereas acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. The main similarity is that the same sterile, disposable solid filament needles are used. TDN therapy and Acupuncture are separate and distinct in their methodology, perspectives and practices.

What Types of Conditions Can TDN Assist?

• Neck/Back Pain
• Shoulder Pain
• Tennis/Golfers Elbow
• Headaches
• Hip and Gluteal Pain
• Knee Pain
• Achilles Tendonitis/Tendonosis
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Sciatica
• Muscular Strains/Ligament Sprains
• Chronic Pain
• Athletic Performance

Does TDN hurt?

You may or may not feel the insertion of the needle. The specific needle manipulation is intended to produce a local twitch response that can elicit a very brief (less than a second) painful response some patients describe as a deep ache or cramping sensation. Again, the therapeutic response occurs with the elicitation of the local twitch response and is a desirable reaction.

What can I do to prepare for my therapy?

Eat a light meal 1-2 hours prior to your visit and wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be rolled up or down to access your areas of concern with the greatest ease.

What can I expect after treatment?

We are looking to get improvements even from the first visit such as increased range of motion, decreased pain, and improved movement health.

Many patients report being sore after the treatment in both the area treated and the area of referred symptoms. Typically this soreness lasts any where from a few hours to two days and there is occasional bruising. Soreness may be alleviated by applying ice or heat to the area and performing specific stretches for the treated muscle.

Ascent Physical Therapy was instrumental in bringing this cutting edge technique to the state of Nevada. By working with two of the most influential physical therapists developing this advanced technique, Kevin was able to have trigger point dry needling approved by the Board of Physical Therapy Examiners as a technique within the scope of practice for physical therapists in the state of NV.