What is Dry Needling?
Trigger-point dry needling is an invasive procedure where a fine needle or acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin and muscle. It is aimed at myofascial trigger points, which are hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with a hypersensitivity, identified by palpable nodules in a taut band. Trigger point dry needling can be carried out at superficial or deep tissue level.
Is Dry Needling the Same as Acupuncture?
Dry needling is not the same as acupuncture, even though similar needles are used. Acupuncture is based upon traditional Chinese medicine, while dry needling is based upon Western medicine. Traditional Chinese acupuncture uses needles to redirect energy flow through different meridians in the body, while Physical Therapists use dry needling to release overstimulated muscles caught in a constant state of contraction.
How does Dry Needling Work?
It has been demonstrated that dry-needling of myofascial trigger points via the mechanical stimulation of the needling into the muscle causes an analgesic (pain relieving) effect. This mechanical stimulation causes a local twitch response (LTR) in the muscle, which is a reflex contraction of the muscle fibers in a taut band, feeling like to a short muscle spasm. Triggering an LTR has been shown to reduce the concentration of nociceptive substances in the chemical environment near myofascial trigger points, thereby creating an analgesic effect.
Who is a candidate for Dry Needling?
Dry Needling can be used as an effective treatment for anyone experiencing restriction of movement, chronic tenderness or soreness, difficulty engaging musculature among multiple other reasons. Your Physical Therapist will make the determination if they believe you would benefit from Dry Needling during your assessment or during reoccurring therapy visits based on your presentation.