About Sports Lab Dry Needling

Myofascial Dry Needling (MDN).

Myofascial Dry Needling (or MDN) is used for the treatment of muscle pain and dysfunction. This approach is based on Western anatomical and neuro-physiologic principles and is not to be confused with Chinese Acupuncture. MDN involves introducing fine, sterile acupuncture needles into “trigger points” of muscles. A trigger point (a knot in a muscle) is a hyperirritable spot within a muscle. Trigger points are tender on compression and can give rise to distinctive referred pain. Laser therapy or acupressure are good alternatives for clients who are needle-phobic.

What Can I expect with MDN treatment?

MDN is based on the physical examination. If your muscle is normal, the insertion of the needle is painless. However if your muscle is supersensitive and shortened, you’ll feel a peculiar sensation – like a dull ache, or a muscle cramp. This is a distinctive type of discomfort caused by the muscle grasping the needle. Patients soon learn to recognize and welcome this sensation. They call it a “good” or positive pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a wonderful feeling of relief and relaxation. The needle may still be in you, but because the muscle is no longer tight, you no longer feel it. What has happened is that the needling has caused your abnormal muscle shortening to intensify and then release. It is important that you experience this releasing sensation in order to gain lasting relief. In some patients with chronic tightness a milder form of the sensation may be felt up to 72 hours after treatment. Research has shown that MDN may be the quickest way to reduce pain and restore muscle function. Research also indicates that needle manipulation by the practitioner can cause connective tissue displacement up to 4cm from needle shaft. This may induce changes (i.e. remodeling and healing) in surrounding myofascia.

Apart from needling in painful locations like trigger points, MDN can also be applied to areas distant to the pain location. Specific examination findings from standard orthopaedic and neurological testing along with skilled touch (palpation) can identify painless (yet restricted) movement regions which will benefit greatly from MDN. In fact needling distant from the pain location has been associated with superior clinical outcomes.

 How many treatments will I need?

Treatments are usually once or twice a week but can be spread out to two weeks, to allow time between treatments for the body to heal itself. The number of treatments you require will vary depending upon several factors such as the duration and extent of your condition, the amount of scar tissue there is and how quickly your body can heal. The rate of healing depends on the condition of your muscles and the amount of irritation caused by trigger points. If the pain is of recent origin, one or two treatments may be all that is necessary. More chronic problems will probably require more treatments. The effects of MDN are cumulative – Myofascial Dry Needling stimulates a certain amount of healing, until eventually, the condition is healed and the pain disappears. Like most therapies, needling works best when used with other techniques.