Dry Needling in Hilversum

Dry needling is a treatment method whereby a very thin needle is inserted into the skin and muscle. Dry needling is very effective against myofascial pain and triggerpoints. Triggerpoints are tiny areas of hardened tissue in muscles, which can cause radiating pain issues. ‘Dry’ indicates that nothing is injected through the needle; it is only use to puncture the triggerpoint.

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Triggerpoints and Dry Needling

A triggerpoint is a spot in a muscle which hurts when pressure is applied to it, which often also causes pain in other areas of the body besides the triggerpoint itself. The physiotherapist looks for triggerpoints because they are often the head cause of one’s ailments.

Triggerpoints can develop in different ways. The most common cause is chronic overburdening of a muscle, for example due to bad posture or unhealthy habits. Acute overburdening of a muscle, such as a sudden wrong movement or an accident, can also create triggerpoints.

Sometimes it is apparent to the patient what the cause of their affliction is, but often it is unsure: the affliction has gradually developed and increased in effect. Often, such afflictions are caused by multiple factors; for example, the overburdening of the afflicted muscle and circumstances which worsen this, such as stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, bad eating habits, trouble with relaxation etc.

When the patient’s complaints of pain have been documented, the therapist looks for the muscles which could be the source of the pain. In this process muscle length, muscle power and the presence or lack of triggerpoints are taken into account. The triggerpoints are found in a hardened strand of the muscle and can often be felt as a local thickening. Applying pressure to the triggerpoint can be very painful and often causes other recognisable symptons to appear.

If the tip of the nail reaches the triggerpoint in the muscle, the muscle reacts with a Local Twitch Response, which feels like a small (electric) shock. The therapist moves the nail up and down to dislodge as many muscle strands from the triggerpoint as possible. Depending on the muscle into which the needle is inserted and the amount of triggerpoints present, the twitches can be very severe. The pain in other areas of the body caused by the triggerpoint may also be felt during the treatment.

Another phenomenon that sometimes arises during the treatment is a so-called vegetative reaction: the patient suddenly starts sweating or shivering or becomes dizzy or nauseated. This reaction, while unpleasant, is of temporary nature. Because a vegetative reaction may arise, the patient is always treated while sitting or lying down.

Indications and Dry Needling

At Physiotherapy Douma, Dry Needling is carried out by a physiotherapist or acupuncturist as part of the physiotherapeutic treatment. Within this treatment by the physiotherapist the deactivation of triggerpoints may play a role.

During myofascial diagnosis, the application of mild pressure will be used to locate painful spots in the patient’s muscle. Triggerpoints are specifically looked for. Those spots are the points the physiotherapist will puncture to relax the muscles.

Although the method is often experienced as unpleasant, it is very effective to achieve a quick recovery. Immediate relaxation and the return of metabolism in the muscles result in a quick decrease in pain and the recovery of the muscle’s function. If the muscles are sufficiently relaxed, work can be done on the mobility of the patient’s joints and the improvement of muscle power and coordination. Dry Needling, as such, is not a standalone therapy but rather a method which is part of the complete physiotherapeutic treatment.

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Dry Needling may be the solution.

Treatment

The sterile needles which are used for Dry Needling are very thin. The physiotherapist first locates the hardened muscle strand and the triggerpoint, fixes the triggerpoint between two fingers and then quickly inserts the needle. This is almost completely painless. Then, the physiotherapist pushes the needle (which can be felt as a dull, faint feeling in the muscle), until it has reaches the triggerpoint, whereupon the muscle reacts with a small shock. The therapist moves the needle up and down to dislodge as many strands from the triggerpoint as possible.

After the therapy, a faint, radiating pain may be felt, depending on the amount of triggerpoints present in the muscle. A vegetative reaction, such as suddenly becoming sweaty or dizzy, may also be experienced. These reactions are temporary, if unpleasant. Because of the possibility of such reactions, a patient will always be treated while seated or lying down.