Dry needling is a treatment technique in which a very thin needle is inserted into skin and muscle. This technique is extremely effective for treatment of myofascial pain and trigger points and is applicable for many indications. Dry needling is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles and should therefore not be confused with acupuncture. “Dry” indicates that nothing is injected with the needle, only the trigger point is pricked. The effect of this technique has been demonstrated in scientific research.
What are trigger points?
Trigger points are painful hardenings in the muscles that no longer relax. A trigger point can cause movement limitations, stiffness, loss of strength and pain complaints. A muscle is made up of separate muscle fibers. In a normal rest position, a muscle fiber is neither stretched nor contracted. When there is a trigger point in the muscle, it appears that the muscle fibers in the resting state are contracted at certain points more than in the surrounding area. At these points the muscle tension is thus higher and the muscle fibers remain contracted even at rest. This creates a local thickening with poor circulation, which causes waste to accumulate. A trigger point can be seen as a muscle knot: a bundle of muscle fibers that does not relax, but is always tightly tightened
Trigger points can arise in all kinds of situations in which muscles are used in an unpleasant way. In summary, these are the causes:
Physical overload of muscles by:
- repeatedly performing the same movement.
- long-term static tightening (eg sitting with raised shoulders).
- short-term strenuous exercise (heavy lifting, exercising, working in the garden).
- wrong attitude
- physical characteristics (leg length difference, pelvic position, flat feet, weak muscles, hypermobile joints)
- sudden shocks, falls, collisions and operations
- lots of self-imposed pressure (perfectionism, like to be liked, take on responsibilities from others, show bad borders, keep feelings in, etc)
- suppress emotions