WHAT IS DRY NEEDLING?
Dry needling is a form of therapy performed by physical therapists using small, monofilament needles inserted into muscle, tendon, ligament or fascia to stimulate a healing response in painful musculoskeletal conditions. Dry needling can:
- Release trigger points (taut bands) in muscle tissue that cause pain, muscle spasm, and radicular symptoms
- Increase blood flow and circulation/ Promote tissue healing
- Reverse Chronic Pain Patterns Dry needling can interrupt pain signals to and from the brain, causing a positive chemical change in the surrounding tissue
- Relieve Headaches and TMJ-related pain
- HOW DOES DRY NEEDLING WORK and HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM ACUPUNCTURE?Dry NeedlingAcupuncture
Monofilament needles of varied length and width used
Used to release trigger points in muscles and tendonsUsed to cause systemic change in the body
Based on trigger point therapy Follows pathways in the body, called Meridians (“energy channels”)
Based on Chinese Medicine/ claims to balance physical, spiritual and emotional imbalances
Dry needling is used to release trigger points via a local twitch response in the muscle. Once the trigger point is released, the muscle can begin to return to normal length and function. The normal microtrauma caused by the needling stimulates a healing environment in the surrounding tissue. Dry needling combined with electrical stimulation has been shown to reverse centrally-mediated pain. (See, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3201653/)
WHAT DIAGNOSES CAN BE TREATED WITH DRY NEEDLING?
These are some of the many diagnoses that can be treated with dry needling:
- Neck pain and upper extremity radicular symptoms (numbness and tingling in hands and/or arm)
- Shoulder impingement
- Tennis elbow
- Low Back Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Patellofemoral Pain
- Achilles tendinosis
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A TYPICAL DRY NEEDLING SESSION?
After being evaluated by a physical therapist, the therapist determines the location or area of the body to be dry-needled. Treatment can usually be completed in about 30 minutes and is often followed by heat or ice and /or specific exercises to re-train the affected muscles.