Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use (where allowed by state law) to treat myofascial pain. The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection. Dry needling is not acupuncture.
Physical therapists use dry needling with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.
Dry needling can also be effective following injuries or other degenerative processes. Many patients can suffer from muscular tightness and spasm. This often leads to compression and irritation of nerves. The natural response of the body attempting to protect itself against the muscular tightness, spasm, and irritation of the nerves results in pain and often referred pain. Dry needling is a highly effective and safe treatment for identifying and eliminating these neuromuscular disorders. The dry needle allows physical therapist to target tissue that is not manually palpable. The treatment involves identifying the source of pain, and advancing a small, solid filament needle into the related muscles, eliciting a small twitch response that allows the muscle to relax. This relaxation can allow for a “rebooting” of the muscle and alleviate both the original problem area as well as the secondary pain. Many patients experience pain relief and improved function with dry needling treatment with lasting relief.
Your Physical Therapist providing dry needling has been trained with 50 plus face to face contact hours of education. Training included over 200 treatment sessions, a written and practical exam, and several reviews of research articles in order to provide the most current and effective treatment for each individual patient.