We have covered a lot of information about Dry Needling in our last 3 blogs. We discussed the Radiculopathy Model, the Trigger Point Model, and the Spinal Segemental Sensitization and Pentad Model. Already, we can clearly see how Dry Needling can help to break down myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) and reduce pain. The fourth model will discuss another reason as to why Dry Needling can help you.
Our final model, the Central Model, covers information about how Dry Needling and other physical interventions (including manipulation, massage, mobilization, etc…) affect the spinal cord and brain. This is a rather basic but powerful model. The premise is that input stimuli will affect tracks in the spinal cord that will carry that information up to the brain. The deeper the treatment, the more information that will be conveyed. The hypothalamus will then take the stimuli and communicate with the pituitary gland and affect other endocrine functions.
In regards to the hypothalamus, it has three primary functions: 1. It supplies input to the brainstem, thus affecting autonomic regulation, 2. It controls endocrine function, and 3. It exerts influence on posture and locomotion.
With the Central Model, MTrPs along the spine will likely cause more autonomic issues (please click to read more about autonomic issues on the Trigger Point Blog). Dry Needling causes an anti-inflammatory response that emanates from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This is deep stuff!
If we assume that the hypothalamus is directly or indirectly adversely affected by MTrPs, then we can conclude that such MTrPs create autonomic and endocrine problems in addition to postural and movement issues (this means it affects the way you work inside and outside). Certainly, we would want to rid our bodies of such noxious stimuli, and since Dry Needling can eliminate such MTrPs, then this makes it a great option for restoring proper function of not only the musculoskeletal system, but also the autonomic and endocrine functions that are affected by an improperly functioning musculoskeletal system.
Any way you slice it, Dry Needling can help you to function better. From simple pain and dysfunction to autonomic concomitants, Dry Needling offers a viable option for the treatment of trigger points and pain due to musculoskeletal causes.
Let’s take a look at some studies supporting the application of Dry Needling…there are a few here but many more in print:
We will start with the grand-daddy of them all…the landmark study performed by Karl Lewit, MD published in 1979. This study broke down the effects of trigger point injections to determine if the analgesic/steroid that was the agent that helped the patient, or was it the needle alone that contained all the magic! Please read study, and if you would like the full study (versus just the abstract), please let us know.