Dry needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle to stimulate the healing process of soft tissues (muscle “trigger points”, fascia, tendons and ligaments, etc.) resulting in pain relief and restoration of healthy physiology.
Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.
A myofascial trigger point is a hyperirritable point in a skeletal muscle that is associated with hypersensitive palpable nodule, or “knot”. This area becomes painful at the site and can also “radiate” in predictable patterns.
The objectives and philosophy behind the use of dry needling by physical therapists is not based on ancient theories or tenets of traditional Chinese medicine. The performance of modern dry needling by chiropractors and physical therapists is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
Both dry needling and acupuncture do, however, use the same tool; a solid needle filament.
Generally, the insertion of the needle is not felt. The local “twitch response” may provoke a brief pain sensation that has been described as a tingling, aching, or cramping sensation.
A variety of musculoskeletal problems including but not limited to: acute/chronic injuries, headaches, neck/back pain, tendinitis, muscle spasms, “sciatica”, hip/knee pain, muscle strains, fibromyalgia, tennis/golfer’s elbow, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and more.
Side effects may vary among individuals. Typically, only mild muscle soreness or skin bruising.