What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling targets trigger points within the muscle or a tight band of skeletal muscle found within a larger muscle group. Trigger points are typically tender to touch and can address pain in other parts of the body.
With damaged or irritated tissue, muscles close by also contract, causing a restriction of blood flow to the injury site, further exacerbating the condition. In Dry Needling, also known as Trigger Point Dry Needling or Intramuscular Manual Therapy, a thin monofilament needle is inserted into the muscle through the skin into the area of injury to prompt a healing response. Microtears that come from the needle cause the body’s natural immune response to act and bring nutrient-rich blood to the injury site, boosting tissue repair. It can also dissipate mediators that typically gather in areas of inflammation.
Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture
Dry Needling is not the same as acupuncture. While the treatments use similar techniques, acupuncture is rooted in Eastern medicine, where needles are inserted along meridian lines. Dry Needling, on the other hand, is a therapy that was introduced into medicine in the 1980s. Needles are inserted into trigger points instead of meridian lines as a treatment for acute or chronic pain.
Using Dry Needling as a Part of Your Treatment Plan
Physiotherapists use Dry Needling as one therapy as part of a holistic treatment plan to help myofascial release or inactivate trigger points to alleviate pain or enhance range of motion. Fascia, connective tissue throughout the body, binds together muscles, blood vessels, ligaments, and nerves. With the buildup of ongoing tension and strained muscles, joints may stiffen, restrict motion or cause pain. With Dry Needling, a sterile, thin monofilament needle stimulates myofascial release tissues that cannot be manually reached by, for example, in sports massage therapy.
Injuries, posture, or even stress cause muscular and fascial tissues to wear, thereby restricting mobility. Dry Needling can alleviate chronic pain, reduce muscle tension, and normalize neuromuscular dysfunctions to accelerate rehabilitation from an injury. Conditions that can be treated include back or neck pain, tennis elbow, joint problems, myofascial pain, pelvic pain, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, shoulder impingement, and tendonitis.
The ability to recover faster from soreness and tense muscles is crucial in the pursuit of enhanced athletic performance. Athletes’ muscles become sore and fascia knot after intense training with the repetitive stress taxing the body. In combination with other physiotherapy treatments and interventions, Dry Needling can alleviate painful musculoskeletal conditions to restore you to pain-free movement, increase your range of motion, and improve tissue healing response.