Acupuncture directly treats the neuromuscular system affecting muscle tightness, joint mobility, and symptoms of pain and irritation. Testing active trigger points with an EMG needle has shown that there is increased spontaneous electrical activity (SEA) at this active trigger point. Kind of like buzzing or uncontrolled electricity causing the nerve muscle connection to trigger the muscle to be tight.
This tightness can cause limited range of joint motion resulting in a reduction of normal functional activities of the whole body. Recent research has reported that there are numerous inflammatory and pain producing chemicals at an active trigger point causing pain and dysfunction of the muscle, consequently affecting the local nerves and joints.
Acupuncture has been shown, when causing a local twitch response (LTR) in the active trigger point and muscle fibre, to decrease or completely reduce that spontaneous electrical activity and reduce or completely eliminate the irritating chemicals in that active trigger point. This release can immediately improve range of motion, decrease pain and improve function. Patients often feel a significant cramping sensation from the twitch response but then feel an immediate improvement of their symptoms.
Utilizing trigger point acupuncture in manual therapy practice allows the patient and the therapist a hastened return to strengthening and exercise that results in a faster return to function and improved maintenance of that dysfunction.
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