Dry needling is a treatment technique developed to relieve pain caused by musculoskeletal dysfunction by relaxing muscle trigger points.
In dry needling a solid filament needle is inserted into the painful part of a muscle (a myofascial trigger point) in order to elicit a neurological relaxation response, so as to restore the imbalances caused by a variety of stresses e.g., disc or joint dysfunction, poor posture, repetitive strain, emotional problems, etc.
The process creates a twitch response – a feeling not dissimilar to a cramp – which means that chemical imbalance in the muscle is being rectified. This is followed by a subsequent decrease in tension which allows the muscle’s normal function to be resumed.
Although dry needling uses the same type of needle as is used in traditional Chinese acupuncture, there is a significant difference between the two procedures. Dry needling is directly concerned with repairing dysfunction that has occurred in the neuromuscular system and relieving pain caused by muscle tightness and joint immobility.
What Does Dry Needling Treat?
Dry needling can be used effectively to treat a range of acute and chronic orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions: back and neck pain; frozen shoulder; hamstring problems; jaw problems; headaches; muscular tightness; rotator cuff problems; shin splints; sporting injuries; tendonitis.
What Are The Benefits of Dry Needling?
As dry needling decreases muscle tension, a patient will usually experience immediate pain relief and an increased range of motion, followed by improved maintenance of the dysfunction. Dry needling is a very safe process. Many people do not even feel the needles being inserted – those who do might experience a slight ache but no excessive pain. In dry needling, needles are not left in the body – instead, they are slowly inserted, gently moved and then taken out. This process will generally be repeated a few times.