Trigger point dry needling (TDN) is an intervention strategy used by physical therapists to address myofascial trigger points that cause muscular tightness and spasm. The muscular tightness and spasm may cause compression and irritation of the nerves exiting the spine. With nerve irritation, a protective muscle spasm occurs along the associated myotome. The muscle spasm and nerve inflammation may negatively influence peripheral diagnoses, such as carpel tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, decreased mobility and chronic pain.
During TDN, small gauge, thin needles are inserted in the tissue to elicit a muscle twitch in the local trigger point. The patient rarely feels the insertion of the needle due to the small size. The muscles then contract and release, resulting in improved mobility/flexibility of the muscle and decreased symptoms. With this release and subsequent improvement of the localized tissue tone, the therapist’s ability to progress the plan of care and achieve patient goals occurs in a shorter frame of time.