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Dry Needling Support Models (3 of 4): Spinal Segmental Sensitization (SSS) and Pentad Model

Dry Needling Support Models (3 of 4): Spinal Segmental Sensitization (SSS) and Pentad Model

In our last two blogs, we went over models that help explain how Dry Needling works.  These two were the Radiculopathy and the Trigger Point Models.  The topic of this blog will involve the third model, or the Spinal Segmental Sensitization and Pentad Model.  As we have with the last two discussions, we will try to explain any difficult terminology or ideas.

Spinal Segmental Sensitization and Pentad Model

The Spinal Segmental Sensitization (SSS) and Pentad Model was proposed by the late Andrew Fischer, M.D. (Physiatrist…pain management and rehabilitation medical doctor).  This is a good time to discuss this model as it really incorporates both of the first two models.  Dr. Fischer proposed that the SSS is a ‘hyperactive’ state of the dorsal horn of the spinal cord that is caused by damaged tissue sending nociceptive (pain) input into the spinal cord.  This information then causes the over-sensitivity of the associated spinal level dermatome (skin), pain sensitivity of the associated spinal level sclerotome (bone, ligaments, joints), and Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrPs) in the associated spinal level muscles.  All this occurs because the nerve coming from the spine is over sensitized, and by being in this pathological state, it stimulates these changes listed above.  In effect, we have a pretty vicious cycle of pain and dysfunction. Continue Reading →