CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

September 26, 2013

Relieving Pain Using Trigger Point Dry Needling

By Rachael Moore,, Special Correspondent
Carriage Towne News

---- — The physical therapy office of Sports and Rehab has three locations in Southern New Hampshire, including one on Danville Road in Hampstead. It specializes in many aspects of rehabilitative care - sports injuries, orthotics, post-operative rehab, electrical stimulation, and more. But recently under new management, there is a new treatment option offered to help relieve your pain.

Rob Armata, PT, DPT joined Sports and Rehab in 2007, but was recently appointed Clinical Administrator of both the Salem and Hampstead location this past summer. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Doctorate in Physical Therapy both from UMass Lowell.

“My specific area of expertise is in the biomechanics of the shoulder and knee and all phases of rehabilitation necessary, from the overuse injury to the post operative protocols of all surgeries,” says Armata.

His goal is to help Sports and Rehab build relationships with local orthopedic and primary care offices for open communication and specialized care for all of their patients. Instead of searching for doctors, information, and referrals, there can be a sense of community and ease for patients to get all of the care they need.

Pain is the common denominator in all of the areas Sports and Rehab works with. This is why Armata recently took an extensive course in what is called ‘trigger point dry needling’.

He explains, “A trigger point is a ‘knot’ in the muscle tissue that may be tender to the touch. A trigger point may also cause ‘referred pain,’ or pain which is distant from the trigger point. For example, a muscle in the hip can cause pain all the way down the leg, and may be mistaken for ‘sciatic’ pain. Chronic trigger points can lead to dysfunction, such as in the spine, where a tight muscle can cause pressure on the nerves, leading to a cycle of pain and dysfunction.”

Therapists insert a needle into the skin, directly where the trigger point in the muscle is located. This causes an electrical effect causing the muscle to let go of its contraction (the knot).

“This allows a chemical change, increased blood flow to the area, restored muscle length, and ultimately relief from the pain.”

Trigger point needling may be used along with other treatments and techniques, as part of a therapy program.

“It is important to deactivate the trigger points that are causing pain or dysfunction. But, it is equally important to determine the root of the dysfunction,” Armata points out.

Back pain, headaches and neck pain, tennis elbow, overuse injuries, hamstring and calf strains, and plantar fasciitis are just some of the maladies that this new treatment can help. Armata and his fellow therapists at the Hampstead office, Lauren Carter, PTA, and Elisa Sebastyan, DPT, are all able to administer this treatment. It’s available at Sports and Rehab’s two other locations as well.

It’s important to treat injuries and pain properly. Visiting a doctor and asking questions is an essential part of the treatment process.

Armata offers his advice: “One of my main suggestions for treating any injury is to treat it while it is still in the acute phase of healing. By seeking treatment within the first one to two weeks, and not allowing the tissue to get into a chronic dysfunction, it is much easier to restore normal mechanics and get rid of pain. During the acute phase of healing, always follow the R-I-C-E protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Soft tissue massage to the area can also be very beneficial to help clear out any edema or swelling. Gentle stretching to the injured area can also help prevent tightness and biomechanical imbalances.”

Pain is not something we have to ignore. If you believe you have a condition that could be helped by trigger point dry needling, stop by Hampstead Sports and Rehab or give them a call. They’re happy to assist you and create a therapy plan that is specialized just for you.