Trigger Point Needling (TPN)?
What is TPN?
Trigger Point Needling or TPN, is a
scientifically proven form of treatment for chronic pain.
Very thin needles are inserted into painful muscle
spasms. This breaks the spasm and allows the muscle to heal
These painful spasms are also known as trigger points.
How does TPN work?
Pain has 3 ingredients, nerves, muscles and bones. They are
all connected like 3 links in a chain. Nerves are the most
delicate and are damaged easily. When the nerve is damaged, it
irritates the muscle attached to it. The irritated muscle will
spasm and pull on the attached bone. This pulls the bone out
of alignment and pain will result. When a needle is placed in the tight painful
spasm, the muscle will relax and take the pressure off the attached nerves and
bones. Pain will reduce or disappear. The nerves, muscles and bones can heal
naturally. Since muscles also attach to discs, ligaments and tendons, once the
spasm is released, these structures can heal.
What is involved in a
Following a thorough medical examination of the patient, the
problem areas are identified and treatment is directed towards
releasing muscle spasms which constitute the source of the
pain. Typically, weekly sessions progressively lead to both
signs of objective physical improvement as well as decreased symptoms. Treatment
is provided on an outpatient basis and is often complimented with a home
stretching program and lifestyle modification. The
number of sessions is dictated by the severity of the problem as identified by
the history and physical examination. The response to treatment depends upon
multiple factors including the overall health of the patient and any
post-surgical scarring present. Generally, patients will need weekly treatment
for 1-2 months, then can be weaned off to an “as needed” basis.
How did TPN develop?
It was developed by Dr. Chan Gunn of Vancouver, Canada over 30 years ago. Dr.
Gunn has been recognized by numerous prestigious international scientific and
medical organizations for his significant contributions to the understanding and
treatment of chronic pain. Click on his website
to find out more information. Dr. Kim has studied extensively
with Dr. Gunn and has been recognized as an honorary fellow of Dr.
Gunn’s institution. He is only one of a handful of doctors in
the U.S. that practices this
Dr. Kim adapted Dr. Gunn’s IMS technique to suit his patient population and now
calls it Trigger Point Needling (TPN).
Are there medical articles that explain TPN?
Yes. Dr. Gunn has published many
articles. In addition, Dr. Kim
also published an extensive article titled The Evolution of Acupuncture
in the medical journal “Seminars of Integrative Medicine”.