Myofascial pain affects about 85% of people at some point in their lives and, thankfully, the problem is short-lived for many. For others, myofascial pain syndrome can set in, which can lead to a great deal of ongoing musculoskeletal discomfort.
Whether your myofascial pain is short- or long-term, a technique called dry needling may help you find relief.
As pain management specialists, our team here at Commonwealth Pain and Spine offers a wide range of solutions for treating and relieving pain, and we want to explore the role that dry needling can play if you’re suffering from myofascial pain.
Each of your muscles is surrounded by a thin membrane called fascia, which is where the term myofascial pain comes from (myo means muscle). The hallmarks of myofascial pain are sensitive trigger points in these connective tissues that can lead to both local pain and discomfort in what would seem to be unrelated areas.
These trigger points can lock up your muscles, preventing them from getting the oxygen they need, which can lead to pain and limited movement. As well, waste materials can build up in these trigger points, causing additional irritation and pain.
While myofascial pain is incredibly common, and most people experience sore muscles and sensitive points from time to time, myofascial pain syndrome is a condition in which these trigger points remain hypersensitive, which can lead to ongoing pain.
The goal behind dry needling is to release the hold that these trigger points have on your fascia and muscles.
Our first step is to identify the trigger points — some may be seen visually as a lump or knot in your skin, while others may be buried deeper below the surface. Once we determine which trigger points are likely responsible for your pain, we insert a needle directly into the trigger point to deactivate it.
The reason we call it dry needling is that we don’t inject anything into your trigger point, though that option is also available. Called trigger point therapy, we use the same technique as dry needling, except we administer a local anesthetic and a steroid to reduce the pain and inflammation in the taut tissue.
Whether you opt for dry needling or trigger point injection therapy, we believe these approaches to myofascial pain, alongside a good physical therapy regimen, can help relieve your discomfort.
To learn more about your treatment options for myofascial pain, including dry needling, simply make an appointment with one of our pain management experts at a location near you. We have offices in St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, and London, Kentucky. Indiana offices are in Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany, Carrollton, and Jasper. We also serve patients in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.