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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 705327, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/705327
Review Article

Probable Mechanisms of Needling Therapies for Myofascial Pain Control

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan
2School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, No. 91 Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Yangming Branch, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei 11146, Taiwan
4Department of Physical Therapy and Assistive Technology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan

Received 14 November 2012; Accepted 21 December 2012

Academic Editor: Chang-Zern Hong

Copyright © 2012 Li-Wei Chou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) has been defined as a regional pain syndrome characterized by muscle pain caused by myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) clinically. MTrP is defined as the hyperirritable spot in a palpable taut band of skeletal muscle fibers. Appropriate treatment to MTrPs can effectively relieve the clinical pain of MPS. Needling therapies, such as MTrP injection, dry needling, or acupuncture (AcP) can effectively eliminate pain immediately. AcP is probably the first reported technique in treating MPS patients with dry needling based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory. The possible mechanism of AcP analgesia were studied and published in recent decades. The analgesic effect of AcP is hypothesized to be related to immune, hormonal, and nervous systems. Compared to slow-acting hormonal system, nervous system acts in a faster manner. Given these complexities, AcP analgesia cannot be explained by any single mechanism. There are several principles for selection of acupoints based on the TCM principles: “Ah-Shi” point, proximal or remote acupoints on the meridian, and extra-meridian acupoints. Correlations between acupoints and MTrPs are discussed. Some clinical and animal studies of remote AcP for MTrPs and the possible mechanisms of remote effectiveness are reviewed and discussed.