Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Walking Mountains Blog

The Science Behind Dry Needling

Posted by Walking Mountains Science Center on Sep 7, 2017 4:12:36 AM
Walking Mountains Science Center

The Science Behind Dry Needling to cure chronic pain and emotional trauma

Have you ever wondered how something works or how something was made? In the monthly Science Behind series, we partner with a guest presenter to explore a large variety of interesting topics. The Science Behind series offers opportunities for adults to apply new knowledge and skills to everyday life, while having fun! 

** This Science Behind event took place in September, 2017 **


The Science Behind Dry Needling to Cure Chronic Pain

Chronic pain hurts, not just physically, but also emotionally. A variety of causes can contribute to chronic pain, including old injuries, habitual patterns and even emotional trauma. This tends to involve a shift in muscle groups and brain response, which perpetuates pain. Pain then leads to doctor visits, and often, a measure of fear, which sends people into a fight-or-flight stress response. Customized, specific interventions, as well as overall lifestyle approaches, can make an enormous difference in the quality of life of people with pain.

Join Walking Mountains Science Center with Howard Head Sports Medicine on Thursday, September 14th at 6:30pm to learn more about Trigger Point Dry Needling at their Science Center in Avon. Trigger Point Dry Needling is a specific technique involving the insertion of a fine needle into the skin and muscle directly to reduce chronic and acute pain. Physical Therapists utilize many different types of interventions in order to get their patient's back to the activities they love. One of the many techniques incorporated into a patient's plan of care which has been receiving attention over the last decade is dry needling. More and more Physical Therapists are becoming certified in the use of dry needling and the results from patients are spreading a positive word in our community and nationwide.

Upcoming Science Behind Schedule

Participants will gain a better understanding of the theories and rationale behind dry needling, who can benefit from dry needling, how it is performed in the clinical setting, and review clinical evidence supporting the use of dry needling for patient outcomes. Participants will have the opportunity to observe a Dry Needling demonstration.

Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is a technique performed by a licensed and specially trained manual Physical Therapist. Dry Needling works by targeting the trigger point, which is the direct and palpable source of patient pain.  A trigger point is a local contraction in a small number of muscle fibers in a larger muscle bundle. Essentially a portion of the muscle cannot relax.  This constant contraction uses chemical energy and leads to accumulation of toxins (such as lactic acid). These tightened muscle fibers reduce oxygen intake and toxin outtake, resulting in a “chemical soup” within the muscle. When trigger points are present in muscles there is often pain and weakness in the associated structures.  The triggers points can be caused by chronic muscle overload, acute trauma or micro trauma, faulty postures, bad ergonomics, a structural variation or psychological distress.  The procedure often causes a “twitch response” which is a spinal cord reflex in which the muscle fibers are essentially reset to a normal tone.  This restores the muscle’s segmental function, releasing muscle shortening and decreasing spontaneous electrical activity.   There are often instantaneous gains in range of motion, as well as immediate pain reduction.  The healing response is also stimulated as the micro-trauma of needling the muscle causes micro-bleeding, which in turn stimulates platelet formation.

The program presenter will be Erin Schmitt, Physical Therapist and Trigger Point Dry Needling certified therapist at Howard Head Sports Medicine. She completed her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science at Ohio State University and continued her post graduate education in Denver, CO earning her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2010 from Regis University. She has been in the Eagle Valley since 2010 working with Howard Head Sports Medicine. Erin has a special interest in the rehabilitation of lower extremity injuries and has extensive experience in treating a wide array of orthopedic and sports related injuries in athletes of all ages. She is certified in trigger point dry needling and finds it a useful tool in her comprehensive care with patients. She loves the return to sport aspect of rehabilitation and getting people back to what they love.


What: The Science Behind Dry Needling
When: Thursday, September 14th, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon
Cost: FREE, $5 suggested donation, Registration Required

Topics: The Science Behind Series

Walking Mountains Science Center

Written by Walking Mountains Science Center

Our mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.