Acupuncture and Trigger Points
Acupuncture needles directly stimulate and relax the skeletal muscles by creating tiny lesions in the muscles. The lesions created by needling stimulate the spinal cord and the brain to secrete neurobiochemicals such as endorphins which relax the smooth muscles, cardiac and skeletal muscles.
Activating this mechanism by acupuncture treatments provides temporary relief from tension of the blood vessels such as in high blood pressure and smooth muscles as in asthma.
Acupuncture needling creates small lesions and bleeding in the contractile muscle and surrounding tissues. As a result of the needling, the tight, contracted muscles immediately relax and blood circulation improves. Thus acupuncture needling breaks the vicious cycle of energy crisis in trigger points inside the muscle.
Acupoints are mainly composed of sensory nerve receptors. Acupoints become tender or painful because their sensory nerve receptors are pathologically sensitized. This sensitized condition is a dynamic process: tender acupoints will appear and grow when health deteriorates, or they disappear when health is restored. Normal physiologic homeostasis will reduce the sensitivity of acupoints, acute injuries or chronic disease will sensitize acupoints.
There are two types of tender acupoints related to pathophysiologic changes, HA’s (Homeostatic Points) and SA’s (Symptomatic Points, Ah Shi).
HA’s appear in a predictable pattern in terms of their locations and sequence. Acute injuries or acute diseases create local tender points. These tender points are named SA’s which appear in different locations, depending on the nature of the injury or disease.
Acupuncture needling is able to relax the muscle, which breaks the vicious cycle of energy crisis and restore normal blood circulation.
John A. Amaro DC, LAc, FIAMA
Reprinted with permission