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. Much like dry needling, 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.”