Severe pain can be debilitating, but it’s also a complex condition. While ongoing pain is an unpleasant experience, it can also lead to other health problems. The good news is, you don’t have to live with it. Trigger point dry needling is an innovative treatment that targets underlying causes of pain. Keep reading to learn how Baton Rouge physical therapy practices use TDN.
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Pain is your nervous system’s way of telling us something’s wrong. When the body stimulates its pain receptors, they kick out neurotransmitters that send signals to the spinal cord. Those signals travel up to the brain’s cerebral cortex, interpreting them as physical pain.
Pain alerts you that there’s an injury or you need to stop whatever you’re doing. However, constant pain may lead to trigger points developing inside your muscles.
What Are Trigger Points?
Myofascial trigger points fall into four categories: active, latent, secondary and satellite. Active trigger points cause pain and twitch when stimulated. Latent trigger points may activate during times of trauma or stress. Secondary and satellite trigger points turn on when nearby muscles are stressed. Several factors can contribute to trigger point creation:
- Muscle overuse, injury or strain
- Psychological stress
- Lack of sleep
- Inflammatory conditions
- Prolonged or repeated bad posture
- General fatigue
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Tobacco use
What Conditions Cause Trigger Points?
Myofascial pain syndrome results when trigger points form in the muscles. These can occur with repeated pain signaling, injuries, stress and other factors. However, they’re more likely to manifest if you have other medical conditions like diabetic neuropathy or chronic infections.
MPS symptoms include deep pain in specific muscles and worsening pain when those muscles stretch. Your physician may also notice painful knots where trigger points have developed. Some muscles may be stiff or weak, but you may also suffer from limited range of motion.
How PT Can Help
Many treatment options exist for myofascial pain syndrome. One effective method is trigger point dry needling, targeting sensitive knots inside your muscles that activate pain. It retrains your nervous system, resetting it to more normal movement patterns. Here’s a quick overview of how dry needling works:
Your physical therapist locates trigger points in your muscles.
The therapist inserts thin filament needles into your trigger points.
These points may involuntarily twitch when the needle tips enter them.
Trigger points’ neurological patterns are disrupted, lessening the ingrained nerve and pain responses.
Some trigger points may deactivate right away, resulting in immediate relief. Others can take a few sessions to go away. You may experience minor muscle cramping as each trigger point releases.
A Complete Physical Therapy Plan
Trigger point dry needling is just one option for chronic pain treatment. Your therapist will construct a plan that may pair TDN with exercise and stretching to help retrain your muscles and nerves. Depending on your condition, your therapist may suggest additional pain relief and therapeutic options. If you’re suffering from severe pain, don’t delay. Ask your doctor for a referral to a provider of physical therapy in Gonzales, Louisiana.