How Does it Work?

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In the presence of pain, many events occur.  The following are the main consequences:
  • Inflammation and edema develops - This sensitizes the nerves in the area, alerting the brain that an injury has transpired -- the brain interprets these signals as "danger" and attaches pain to that site in the body.  Edema decreases the ability of the joint to move to prevent further damage. 
  • Muscle shortening and contractures (i.e., trigger points) arise to disallow movement in the injured joint to prevent further damage.  Contracture of the muscle leads to decreased blood circulation (ischemia) and inability to remove the garbage, leading to an "energy crisis" -- this facilitates further contraction of the muscle and the vicious cycle continues indefinitely until it is addressed.
  • Impaired microcirculation of the blood and lymph vessels occurs due to inflammation and/or muscular contracture -- and vice versa.  This decreased blood circulation facilitates muscular pain, contractures, atrophy and weakness.
  • Sensitized nerves - During instances of chronic pain, sensitized nerves will continue to send pain signals to the brain even when the danger/threat has left the body.  Dry needling breaks this cycle by desensitizing the nerves, thus terminating the unwanted pain signal to the brain.​​​

Inserting a needle into soft tissue (i.e., muscles, ligaments, tendons, bursae, capsules, fasciae, peripheral nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels, and viscera) creates a small lesion that causes an acute, healthy inflammatory response.  This stimulation initiates a series of natural, self-healing systems in the body:
  • nervous
  • immune
  • endocrine
  • cardiovascular
These bodily systems​, excited by the needle lesions, facilitate normal, healthy functioning via decreased inflammation (immune and endocrine), normalized muscle tone and microcirculation (cardiovascular) and desensitizing nerves sending pain signals to the brain (nervous).
  
​Ultimately, all pain is related to the nervous system.  As previously discussed, once an injury occurs, the body's protective mechanisms of inflammation and swelling are initiated. This is good.  However, whenever inflammation remains for prolonged periods of time, it will sensitize the nerves in the area of the injury that are sending pain signals to the brain. Once sensitized, these nerves will continue to send pain signals to the brain even when the inflammation and swelling have dissipated.  Dry needling desensitizes these nerves, leading to deactivation of pain signals to the brain and immediate decrease in or complete cessation of pain.

Initiation of body's healing systems & decresased inflammation
NO MORE PAIN!

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Normalized muscular tone/blood circulation and desensitization of nerves
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