Trigger Point Acupuncture / Dry Needling / IMS
Trigger point acupuncture, dry needling and IMS are virtually identical in that they all aim to address trigger points by inserting needles into them. Proper placement of needles into trigger points will elicit a local twitch response in the muscle, this will feel to the patient as if the muscle is jumping or contracting. For some this can be an intense sensation, others find it very tolerable. Once this local twitch response occurs, the trigger point is usually reset back to it’s normal state and the patient’s pain should be greatly reduced and range of motion should increase assuming all trigger points in the muscle(s) were addressed. Some patients may need multiple treatments due to large numbers of trigger points which can’t possibly be resolved all in one treatment. Some patients have hundreds of trigger points, and resolving all trigger points depends on time, patient tolerance and the skill of the practitioner.
Acupoint Injections commonly referred to by other practitioners as trigger point injections are identical to trigger point acupuncture / dry needling / IMS except that an injectable substance; either procaine or lidocaine is injected into the trigger points while they are being penetrated by the needle. These substances are local anaesthetics that serve a few purposes such as reducing pain during the procedure, improving circulation to the area (vasodilation) and interrupting feedback between the trigger point and the central nervous system which speeds up the destruction of the trigger point. The use of a local anaesthetic also allows a thicker needle to be used to improve accuracy when accessing deeper muscles and gives better control over the needle.
Prolotherapy is often indicated when patients have had multiple treatments to resolve their trigger points, but the same trigger points seem to reoccur. This often suggests an underlying problem in the tendons and ligaments that hold your joints together, and the development of trigger points leading to tight muscles are a compensation mechanism by your body to stabilize the joint by reducing range of motion.
Prolotherapy is also used for patients who have knowingly injured a joint such as a sprained ankle, dislocated shoulder, partial ligament tears in the knee, partial rotator cuff tears and other injuries to the tendons and ligaments that are not complete tears.
Neural Prolotherapy, also sometimes referred to as Perineural Injection Therapy is a technique that addresses neurogenic inflammation (irritation and/or swelling of the nerves). Dextrose injection in low concentration around the nerves (5%) reduces neurogenic inflammation and is indicated in people with nerve pain that has been caused by old injuries such as a bulging disc (sciatica), overuse, nerve entrapments, and some times of idiopathic origins (no known causes). If all trigger points have been resolved and pain remains, neural prolotherapy may be an option. This is also used some times as a first line treatment as well.
Ozone Therapy (Prolozone)
Ozone Therapy (Prolozone) is a technique that utilizes the powerful molecule of ozone (three oxygen molecules) to flood the tissues with oxygen. Injuries that are old and fibrous, often have a poor blood and oxygen supply and are generally hypoxic (oxygen deficient). Ozone’s properties as a gas can temporarily expand the tissues and flood the area with oxygen in the form of O3 which is quickly broken down by the body in a matter of seconds, it also has anti-inflammatory properties. This treatment has also shown to be effective for disc herniations by expanding the tissues around the discs and helping reduce the bulge.
Indications for this treatment are disc herniations, tail bone pain, knee osteoarthritis, and joint/tissue inflammation.
Vitamin Injections can be an effective way to get water soluble vitamins such as B vitamins directly into the body by bypassing the digestive tract.
Studies have shown that supplementing with B vitamins orally is not an effective way of raising blood serum levels even when more than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is taken. The most common vitamin injections are;
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B-complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B12)
- Vitamin B-full spectrum (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12)
Cupping is an ancient practice used to mobilize blood flow from deep inside the tissues to the surface of the skin where it is easier to metabolize and break down waste products. Cupping is an effective way of targeting deep muscles using suction.
Sometimes cupping is used in conjunction with blood letting to pull old blood out of the tissues that have poor circulation and often appear dark and purple.
Gua Sha (Scraping)
Gua Sha is a treatment in which a smooth scraping tool is press-stroked against a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create temporary therapeutic purple/red spots called (petechiae or ‘sha’) representing the leakage of blood in the subcutaneous tissues. According to the foremost authority on gua sha, Arya Nielson PhD of GuaSha.com; this produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single Gua sha treatment.