What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling, also known as Trigger Point Needling, is a therapeutic treatment that involves multiple advances of a needle into the muscle in the area of the body. The very thin, solid needle releases trigger points in the muscle, causing a sensation or “twitch” response. This response has a biochemical characteristic that activates the healing process, ultimately reducing pain and restoring normal length and function to the muscle.
Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain and rehabilitation from injury, and has very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.
What conditions can Dry Needling treat?
Dry Needling treats chronic pain and injuries such as:
- joint dysfunction
- pinched nerves / nerve irritation
- changes in flexibility and motion
- tightness and tenderness in the muscles
- sprains and strains
What results can I expect?
The benefits of Dry Needling include decreased chronic pain, increased mobility, and increased strength. Typically, positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms and overall health of the patient.
Who practices Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is a specialized skill that requires post-professional education and training, and all practitioners must demonstrate competency per practice guidelines. Dynamic Physical Therapists that practice Dry Needling are highly trained and qualified.
Does it hurt?
Most patients do not feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it has advanced into the muscle, the discomfort can increase. A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort upon insertion of the needle, but if the muscle is sensitive and shortened and has active trigger points, the patient will likely feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp. The expertise of the practitioner is critical to controlling the level of discomfort during treatment, as well as the outcome.
Reproducing the patient’s pain during treatment aids in diagnosing the cause of their symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation, as it results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the muscle.
How is it different from acupuncture?
Dry needling relies on modern clinical knowledge of anatomy and physical therapy, not traditional Chinese medicine. Dry needling focuses on biochemical response rather than qi, or natural energy.