What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a medical treatment which uses very thin needles without any medication (a dry needle). Dry needling is used to treat pain and dysfunction caused by myofascial trigger points (MTrPs), tension in the muscle and fascia, and neural/physiological changes in the body. Dry needling is based on a Western medical technique that involves deep palpation into muscle bellies, tendons and ligaments and superficial palpation on the skin to locate the trigger point. The trigger points are then treated with a gentle insertion of a needle into the area.
Who can benefit from dry needling?
Just about anyone with musculoskeletal or neurological defects or limitations can benefit from dry needling. Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrPs) can occur throughout the body in any dysfunctional joint or muscle group. Patients may be unaware that they have MTrP.
Patients with the following are not appropriate candidates for dry needling as a treatment:
- Metal allergies
- Needle phobia
- Infection at needling site
When and where can dry needling be administered?
Dry needling can be used for acute and chronic injuries and/or conditions, and anywhere on the body where a MTrP is found. The chest cavity is the most common site for risk associated with needling, but the risk is very low, due to your physical therapist's extensive knowledge of human anatomy. If you have any questions regarding dry needling, contact your physical therapist to discuss your concerns.
Why choose dry needling?
This technique is a very safe and effective treatment, when performed by a trained physical therapist (PT). MTrPs can form anywhere an injury has occurred, or anywhere increased tension/stress occur. The needle allows the PT to reach “deeper” than other treatment options. For many patients, dry needling can work as well as cortisone injections and some physical therapy options.
Typical symptoms of dry needling:
- Pin prick sensation upon the needle being inserted
- Soreness is normal for 24-48 hours after treatment
- If a trigger point and/or restriction is treated properly, range of motion, pain, mobility, and flexibility can see an immediate improvement.