Trigger Point Needling Therapy

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Trigger point needling therapy

Trigger Point Needling Therapy for Neck and Shoulder Tension

Trigger point needling therapy is a style of acupuncture that is also sometimes referred to as dry needling. Dry needling focuses more on neuro-anatomical needling techniques and placement rather than traditional acupuncture point locations. The term “trigger point” is used to describe an area of a muscle that has developed tight, fibrotic bands that are in a shortened and contracted state is accompanied by inflammatory mediators, and result in the perception of pain. The trigger point produces pain in the local area, as well as referred pain that radiates to another region of the body and can often be seemingly unrelated. An example of referred pain is a trigger point in a muscle located in the neck or shoulders that causes a headache. Muscles that commonly cause headaches are the trapezius and SCM (sternocleidomastoid).


Using filiform acupuncture needles, trigger point needling therapy is applied to tight, fibrotic, myofascial (muscle tissue) bands to elicit a local twitch reflex. The twitch reflex reduces muscular contraction and chemical irritation, improves flexibility, and reduces pain.

Many people complain of painful and tight muscles especially in the neck and shoulders and doing massage may provide only temporary relief. In fact, according to a report issued by the United States Bone and Joint Initiative, 75.7 million adults experience neck and back pain. Individuals experiencing myofascial pain often find their treatment options limited to massage and drug therapy, such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. While massage and pharmaceutical drugs provide only temporary relief, acupuncture and trigger point therapy offer a safe and effective method for the long-term relief of muscular tension and pain.

What Causes Trigger Points/ Tight and Painful Muscles?

  • Lack of exercise/de-conditioning
  • A work environment with poor ergonomics/ poor posture
  • Repetitive strains/sprains- repetitive motions injuries commonly result from too much computer work/typing, using a mouse, texting, handheld electronics, driving, gardening, etc.
  • Joint disorders
  • Lifestyle factors such as lack of sleep and poor eating habits may also be contributing factors
  • Stress often causes the tensing and clenching of muscles
  • Acute, traumatic, and sports injuries

How Does Acupuncture and Trigger Point Needling Therapy Work?

  • Reduction of pain- produces analgesic effects through the release of opioid endorphins and serotonin
  • Decreased muscular contraction through the twitch reflex response
  • Improved range-of-motion results from decreased muscular tension
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Improved blood and lymphatic circulation

Is Your Pain and Tension Progressively Getting Worse?

If trigger points are left untreated, more trigger points may develop in the surrounding tissue due to compensation patterning, which in turn perpetuates more widespread pain. It is important to keep in mind that not all pain is caused by trigger points, as they may be secondary to an underlying condition that requires evaluation and treatment.

Conditions That Are Often Accompanied by Multiple Trigger Points:

  • Headaches
  • Spinal pathologies such as bulged and herniated discs, radiculitis, and radiculopathy- In both the neck and low back
  • Sciatica
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfers elbow
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Tendonitis/bursitis

It is important to seek care from a qualified medical professional to evaluate and determine the source of your pain.

Call Today to Schedule an Evaluation with Our Pain Expert, Dr. Daniele Uzes


Dr. Daniele Uzes is Currently Accepting Patients into her Practice…

Dr. Uzes is highly specialized in acupuncture orthopedics, physical medicine, and pain management. Embracing the integrative approach, Dr. Uzes combines ancient Chinese medical techniques with modern scientific medicine by utilizing neuro-anatomical needling and cupping techniques that facilitate pain reduction, tissue repair, reduction of inflammation, improved local blood circulation, mobilization of myofascial adhesions and restrictions, improved range-of-motion, and neuromuscular re-education.

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Lishanna Emmert, DAOM, L.Ac

Lishanna Emmert, DAOM, L.Ac

Dr. Emmert has been treating chronic pain for 15 years. After obtaining her Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, she went on to do a Doctoral Program through the Henan University In China, then a second Doctoral program in San Jose, CA. Lishanna has done certification programs in functional nutrition, whole food supplements for pain and sports injury, orthopedic acupuncture, and functional herbal medicine.