Chronic pain and stiffness can often result from causes not clear to the sufferer, or to most treating physicians. Chiropractic and dry needling therapy are often useful modalities for relieving these types of problems.
Causes could be sudden, acute, chronic muscle overload or repetitive motion involving improper body mechanics. These injuries may not have been remarkable at the time and therefore are not recalled or recognized by the patient as a cause of the present discomfort. Dry needling treatment or trigger points are common in treating back or shoulder pain.
When pain is present, muscle spasm is often employed by the body as a protective mechanism. In this way further injury is prevented by restricting movement. When this type of hyper-irritable condition occurs within a muscle fiber, it is known as a trigger point. This can be reliably identified by someone with the proper diagnostic knowledge and training.
Diagnosis of this condition is by pain patterns, heat differential, palpation, and potentially by magnetic resonance imaging. A palpable nodule, bump, or knot can be sensed manually. There will be a state of maximum, continuous contraction at the affected spot. Stiffness may be fifty percent greater than in the surrounding muscle. There may be asymmetries evident in the muscle, as well. This will be accompanied by localized tenderness, localized twitch response, or referred pain felt elsewhere in the body.
Once this hyperactive spot is identified, treatment usually takes the form of deep pressure or dry needles applied for an appropriate length of time to relax or release the trigger. Other possible treatments include mechanical vibration, cool spray and stretch, pulsed ultrasound, electro stimulation, ischemic compression to regulate blood flow, injection and low level laser.