Physical Therapists

It is difficult to be a master of all the techniques and approaches you are able to access: joint and soft tissue mobilization or manipulation, therapeutic exercise, strength training, and functional rehabilitation to name a few. But you have, or are in the process of mastering these, because you care deeply about helping those that come to you. Still there are patients you cannot completely rehabilitate. Many times these are patients that need deep myofascial treatment in areas you are unable to access with your hands, elbow, nor any tool that works from the surface. These are patients who need Acutherapy: needling of myofascial tissues that cause pain, muscle inhibition, altered proprioception, and central nervous system overactivity [1].

When you see a patient who cannot make gains in strength or flexibility following injury or surgery, oftentimes the reason is the existence of multiple myofascial trigger points in the involved musculature, as well as throughout the synergistic myofascial chain. These trigger points often do not yield to manual treatment, but are very responsive to only one or a few treatments with Acutherapy. Patients with complaints of pain in multiple areas that “moves from place to place” or that occurs in another location once one area improves, are likely dealing with central sensitization – a condition in which the central nervous system becomes “wound up”.

The net effect of central sensitization is to recruit previously subthreshold synaptic inputs to nociceptive neurons, generating an increased or augmented action potential output: a state of facilitation, potentiation, augmentation, or amplification. Central sensitization is responsible for many of the temporal, spatial, and threshold changes in pain sensibility in acute and chronic clinical pain settings and exemplifies the fundamental contribution of the central nervous system to the generation of pain hypersensitivity [2].

You know from your experience that these patients are difficult to progress. Using scientific adaptation of classical acupuncture, we integrate pain relieving – central nervous system regulating techniques into our myofascial approach with these patients. Several studies have documented success in treating pain in chronic pain patients. Both acupuncture and dry needling techniques are successful in this area by working through various brain regions responsible for the experience of pain and its modulation [3].

In many states, physical therapists can use dry needling to address these issues. Within the next few years you will be able to use the technique in New York State. However, a few weeks or months of training does not compare to 3 years of full-time study and thousands of clinical hours developing and mastering needling skills. We at Mark Thompson Acutherapy are trained acupuncturists who treat only musculoskeletal complaints. We are specialists in this particular technique, with 35+ years of combined experience. Using the Travell-Simons theory as a starting point, we integrate evidence-based approaches from both Western and classical acupuncture theory to solve the most difficult patient problems.

  1. Dommerholt J. Dry needling — peripheral and central considerations. The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy. 2011;19(4):223-227. doi:10.1179/106698111X13129729552065
  2. Latremoliere A, Woolf CJ. Central Sensitization: A Generator of Pain Hypersensitivity by Central Neural Plasticity. <em>The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society</em>. 2009;10(9):895-926. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2009.06.012.
  3. Hui KKS, Marina O, Liu J, Rosen BR, Kwong KK. Acupuncture, the Limbic System, and the Anticorrelated Networks of the Brain. Autonomic neuroscience : basic & clinical. 2010;157(0):81-90. doi:10.1016/j.autneu.2010.03.022.