Trigger Point Therapy with Dry Needling Is Effective for IT Band syndrome and Runner’s Knee
TriggerPoint Therapy with Dry Needling gets rid of the muscular and fascial pain of IT Band syndrome, also sometimes called TFL syndrome, fast. This is because Dry needling eliminates the cause of IT band syndrome–activated inflammed trigger points associated with shortened muscles and fascia from the TFL down to the Peroneus.
Muscular and Fascial Pain are both relieved by dry needling these trigger points, and also stimulating the Motor Points of the relevant muscles. When you stimulate motor points this causes the muscle to legnthen, to return to its normal legnth that was lost by overuse.
Motor Points and Acupuncture Points
Interestingly, the motor points often coincide with Acupuncture points. For this reason I may at times combine acupuncture with dry needling for greater effect. For example, with very wirey build runners, I will use acupuncture point GB 34 along the Peroneus Longus. This is the “master point” of the fascia, and has a relaxing effect on the fascial sheath, and the even the nervous system.
What is Fascia and What is its role in IT band syndrome and other sports injuries?
The fascia is a web of connective tissue that passes thru and across muscles. Fascia “organizes” muscle so that they can work together to move bones. Fascia overlaps muscles doing the same tasks. So whereas a muscle originates at point A and inserts at point B on two adjacent bones that it moves, fascia crosses over 3 or 4 of more muscles and helps them work together for complex tasks like running and jumping and typing.
The Releationship between the Fascia of the IT Band and the TFL
An dramatic example of fascia is the IT band, the largest band of fascia in the body. The IT band originates with the fibers of the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle, or TFL, in the top front of the hip, and extends down and attaches to the tibia, below the knee on the outside.
IlioTibial Band Syndrome, or ITBS is very common among cyclists and runners, and expresses itself with pain along the knee, into the calf, or all the way up to the hip. If you have ITBS, you will often have very active Trigger Points in the TFL. If you press on the TFL, you will feel very specific and equisitely tender points in the muscle.
Treat the Trigger Points in the Muscles And the Fascia
When I treat IT Band syndrome I always begin by checking for trigger points in the muscles the IT band crosses over and into, like the TFL and the Peroneus longus. After deactiving those TrPs with Dry Needling, I then get to work on the IT band itself.
Something many Physical Therapists who are new to dry needling miss is that dry needling releases fascial contractions as well as muscular ones. Its not just for Trigger Points, but can directly release the fascial adhesions. Fascia attaches directly to the bone. When the fascia contracts thru overuse it “overorganizes” its associated muscles. Now fascia and muscles together are “locked short.” We can unlock the muscles and fascia by adding electrical stimulation (eStim) to the mix.
Adding eStim to Your Dry Needling for Trigger Points
During my treatments I locate exquisitely tender points on the IT Band, the TFL, The Peroneus, even. the lateral hamstring or quadraceps, insert dry needles into those points, and then attach electrical stim from one end of the fascial and muscles to the other. Electrical stimulation creates rhythmic contractions of muscles and fascia. These contraction creat oscillation in the “intramuscular pressure.
These oscillations in turn effect changes at the cellular level, and promote healing of inflammed tissues. eStim also increase blood supply, and has a cascade of positive biological effects in the collagen and elastin fibers. This helps the muscle to recover from overexertion and releases muscles and fascia that have developed into that “locked tight” condition.
For more info on the difference between Dry Needing and Channel Based Acupuncture, see https://bodymindwellnesscenter.com/difference-between-dry-needling-and-acupuncture/