What Is Dry Needling
Trigger-point dry needling is a procedure where fine filiform needles are inserted into the skin and muscle to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. It’s called “Dry” Needling because the needle isn’t injecting a fluid. It is aimed at myofascial trigger points which are hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule or “knot” in a muscle. Combined with electric stimulation, dry needling can restore muscle activation and strength as well as ROM.
Why Is It Called Dry Needling
DN and wet needling differ primarily in the type of needle used and also the intention of the insertion of the needle. DN utilizes a solid filament needle to stimulate neuromuscular tissue, and wet needling utilizes a hollow hypodermic needle to inject pain relievers, corticosteroids, or Botox into neuromuscular tissue. Needles utilized for DN are typically much smaller than hypodermic needles and are referred to in terms of diameter and length rather than “gauge.” They are solid rather than hollow and have a rounded rather than the beveled, cutting-edge tip of a hypodermic needle and so are generally more comfortable and carry less risk of introducing infection.
What Is Difference Between Dry Needling And Acupuncture
An obvious question about dry needling is its comparison to acupuncture. While both disciplines use the same type of filiform needle (solid, sterile and single use), the similarities end there. With dry needling, based on Western medicine, you’re going into a specific part in the muscle that’s dysfunctional. Whereas with acupuncture, based on Eastern medicine, there’s different points and meridians throughout your body that you’re trying to use the needle superficially at the skin level to help assist with the flow of energy, or ‘chi.
This is quite likely one of the most frequently asked questions. Both acupuncture and Dry Needling use a solid filament needle; however, the uses of a solid filament needle for acupuncture and Dry Needling are very different. Their differences are in the evaluative tools used by the practitioner, the assessment, the application, and the overall intended goal. Acupuncture is a treatment based on Eastern medical diagnosis requiring training in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The TCM practitioner inserts needles into specific points that lie along meridians (channels) of the body through which the life force, or “qi” (pronounced “chee”).
Benefits Of Dry Needling
- reduce pain, ease acute inflammation and promote healing in your body.
- release muscle tightness, ease tendonitis and inflammation, and/or promote healing
How Does It Work
- It stimulates a trigger point, which is a hyperirritable spot in a taut band of skeletal muscle or the fascia that is painful upon compression and produces pain, referred tenderness, motor dysfunction, and/or autonomic phenomena. You might simply call it a knot, and it can cause more widespread pain than just the muscle in which it’s found.
- Elicits a local twitch response (LTR) When firm mechanical pressure (via palpation) on or a needle is introduced to a trigger point, a visual twitch (contraction) of the trigger point will occur. The LTR is easily visualized and it appears as a quick twitch or dimpling of the skin overlying the muscle the trigger point resided within. An LTR is a spinally mediated reflexive twitch of that muscle fiber.
- Eliciting a local twitch response of a trigger point results in decreased electrical activity at that site. This change in electrical activity may reflect a normalization of the neuromuscular junction.
- The needle creates a tiny lesion in the tissue, promoting blood flow and healing to the area.
Common Treatment Areas:
- Shoulder pain
- Knee pain
- Achilles tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hip and gluteal pain