Learn the science behind dry needling with Walking Mountains Science Center on Thursday | VailDaily.com

Learn the science behind dry needling with Walking Mountains Science Center on Thursday

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Chronic pain hurts, not just physically, but also emotionally. A variety of causes can contribute to chronic pain, including old injuries, habitual patterns and even emotional trauma.

This tends to involve a shift in muscle groups and brain response, which perpetuates pain. Pain then leads to doctor visits, and often, a measure of fear, which sends people into a fight-or-flight stress response. Customized, specific interventions, as well as overall lifestyle approaches, can make an enormous difference in the quality of life of people with pain.

Rationale behind dry needling

Join Walking Mountains Science Center with Howard Head Sports Medicine on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to learn more about trigger point dry needling at the Science Center in Avon.

Trigger point dry needling is a specific technique involving the insertion of a fine needle into the skin and muscle directly to reduce chronic and acute pain. Physical therapists utilize many different types of interventions in order to get their patient's back to the activities they love. One of the many techniques incorporated into a patient's plan of care which has been receiving attention over the last decade is dry needling.

More and more physical therapists are becoming certified in the use of dry needling and the results from patients are spreading a positive word in our community and nationwide.

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Participants will gain a better understanding of the theories and rationale behind dry needling, who can benefit from dry needling, how it is performed in the clinical setting and review clinical evidence supporting the use of dry needling for patient outcomes. After signing a waiver, select participants will have the opportunity to receive a free dry needling session on-site.

Defining trigger points

Trigger point dry needling is a technique performed by a licensed and specially trained manual physical therapist. Dry needling works by targeting the trigger point, which is the direct and palpable source of patient pain.

A trigger point is a local contraction in a small number of muscle fibers in a larger muscle bundle. Essentially, a portion of the muscle cannot relax. This constant contraction uses chemical energy and leads to accumulation of toxins (such as lactic acid). These tightened muscle fibers reduce oxygen intake and toxin outtake, resulting in a "chemical soup" within the muscle.

When trigger points are present in muscles, there is often pain and weakness in the associated structures. The triggers points can be caused by chronic muscle overload, acute trauma or micro trauma, faulty postures, bad ergonomics, a structural variation or psychological distress.

The procedure often causes a "twitch response" which is a spinal cord reflex in which the muscle fibers are essentially reset to a normal tone. This restores the muscle's segmental function, releasing muscle shortening and decreasing spontaneous electrical activity.  There are often instantaneous gains in range of motion, as well as immediate pain reduction.

The healing response is also stimulated as the micro-trauma of needling the muscle causes micro-bleeding, which in turn stimulates platelet formation.

About the Presenter

The program presenter will be Erin Schmitt, physical therapist and trigger point dry needling certified therapist at Howard Head Sports Medicine.

She completed her undergraduate degree in exercise science at Ohio State University and continued her post-graduate education in Denver, earning her doctorate of physical therapy in 2010 from Regis University.

She has been in the Vail Valley since 2010 working with Howard Head Sports Medicine. Schmitt has a special interest in the rehabilitation of lower extremity injuries and has extensive experience in treating a wide array of orthopedic and sports related injuries in athletes of all ages.

She finds trigger point dry needling as a useful tool in her comprehensive care with patients. She loves the return to sport aspect of rehabilitation and getting people back to what they love.

IF YOU GO

What: The Science Behind Dry Needling.

When: Thursday, Sept. 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Walking Mountains Science Center, Avon.

Cost: Free, $5 suggested donation,

More information: Registration is required and space is limited. Visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/sb” target=”_blank”>class=”Hyperlink”>http://www.walkingmountains.org/sb to register .

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