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Trigger point Dry Needling (TDN)

Frequently Asked Questions:


What exactly is it?

Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is an effective technique used all around the world to treat active trigger points and deep tissue tension, called motor banding, in muscles that have been injured and or sensitized. TDN uses small filament needles to release dysfunction in muscles and relieve pain and tension. TDN is based upon the work of Janet Travell, MD and David Simons, MD, who initially diagnosed and mapped out the referral patterns of trigger points. ProActive PT has three practitioners certified in TDN.

Post injury, muscles often shorten and become sensitized at or near the injury site. Untreated, this area of shortening can become a trigger point or an area of motor banding, commonly known as a knot. The resultant shortening of the muscle fibers can create compression on the structures around them such as nerves, joints, or within the muscle itself. This creates an abnormal or hypersensitive “feedback loop” within the nervous system and is interpreted by the body as an area of tightness or cramping in the muscles. The resultant hypersensitivity of the nerve endings is interpreted by the body as pain and/or tightness.

TDN is very effective at releasing these trigger points and motor banding regions within a muscle or an area surrounding a joint. TDN utilizes a monofilament needle to release the muscular banding; often you will feel the muscle winding or grasping around the needle and then feel a release. The needle essentially desensitizes the feedback loop that has occurred in the body. The result is that the muscle and nerve endings are no longer irritated and, therefore, fosters healing. TDN, combined with appropriate soft tissue and joint mobilization and a comprehensive home exercise program, often returns patients to their previous pre-injury levels.

How safe is it?
TDN is very safe. The needles are sterilized and brand new. All practitioners are required to demonstrate proficiency in manual therapy prior to taking the course of TDN. Additionally, TDN practitioners need to demonstrate safe and effective treatment techniques for certification. Gloves are used for added safety.

Is it acupuncture?
TDN is NOT acupuncture. The goal of the treatment is to treat motor banding and trigger points in the body, which affect muscle tightness, joint mobility, and cause symptoms of pain and irritation. TDN does not address meridian points nor chi in the body. This treatment is not intended to replace acupuncture.

How often can I be treated?
We usually recommend that you start with one treatment session per week. Patients who tolerate this treatment sequencing may elect to treat two times per week, with at least two days apart. Our goal is to get you good enough so that you are only in need of this treatment occasionally.

How many treatments will be needed?
Typically, positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary, depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms and overall health of the patient.

What should I expect after treatment?
Patients may have post-treatment soreness and occasional bruising. The post treatment soreness can last 24-48 hours initially. With each subsequent treatment the soreness is generally a shorter duration. Many people experience significantly improved symptoms very quickly following treatment.

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