Dry needling is a technique used to treat myofascial pain syndromes by trained physical therapists. As far back as the 16th Century, myofascial pain syndromes have been recognized by medical practitioners for causing sensory, motor, and autonomic symptoms and dysfunctions. Myofascial pain syndromes are associated with palpable nodules or taut bands known as myofascial trigger points. It was discovered an injection of analgesic medication into trigger points caused a decrease in symptoms, pain, and sensitivity to touch in the trigger points. Today we know the actual insertion, and stimulation of the muscle trigger point, with a dry needle alone, provides pain relief without the need for additional medication.
Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is an effective treatment that uses small, thin needles (acupuncture needles) that are inserted into the muscles at the trigger points that are causing pain referral. The insertion of the needle into the trigger point is meant to disengage the trigger point. By disengaging and desensitizing the trigger point; results should include improved flexibility and diminished symptoms.
A trigger point is a local spot located in a taut band of skeletal muscle that often refers pain. Acute trauma or repetitive micro trauma can lead to the formation of trigger points. Symptoms of trigger points are persistent pain that results in a decreased range of motion in the affected muscle or muscles.
Dry Needling is a form of treatment for muscular tightness and spasm which commonly follows injuries and often accompanies the degenerative processes. This muscular tightness and spasm will cause compression and irritation of the nerves exiting the spine. When the nerves are irritated, they cause a protective spasm of all the muscles to which they are connected. This may cause peripheral diagnoses, such as carpel tunnel, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, decreased mobility and chronic pain.
The only thing that Dry Needling and Acupuncture share is the needle. Read here to learn more about acupuncture.
Generally, it takes a few sessions to have a positive effect, though some people can feel an immediate decrease in pain and an increase in mobility.