What is Dry Needling?

Is Dry Needling Acupunture?

Modern dry needling by a Doctor of Physical Therapy is based on neuroanatomy, not on traditional acupuncture theories.

How does it work?

A very thin needle (with no medication) is inserted into trigger points produce a local twitch response.

What are the benefits?

The twitch response reduces muscle tension, normalizes the chemicals in the muscles, restores motion back to the muscle, and lowers pain.

Dry needling can help people with pain in most parts of their body...neck, back, arms and legs, feet and hands...it even can help reduce headaches. It can really help those who have chronic pain or even just a recent injury. If you have ever felt a knot in one of your muscles, had tightness/limited mobility, referred pain, or tension that you cannot get rid of, this is for you.

So lets start what are knots and why do they form. Knots are formed in the body due to muscle overload (overuse), prolonged muscle contraction, or nerve compression.  These knots are formed basically because your body cannot live up to the demands you put on it. This could be because of repetitive movements at work, postures, or weakness.  A knot is basically muscle fibers stuck in a contracted state.

Dry Needling is a technique to address these stubborn tight spots. Because the needle can touch the muscle, it causes the muscle to twitch, which resets it, especially when electrical stimulation is added to the needle. Not only does it help reduce the knot by the twitch response, but also it helps induce healing, so knots do not return. As the pressure is taken off the muscle, the contracted muscle is naturally lengthened, which will restore functional range of motion and pain free range of motion. Indirectly, even the tendons, ligaments and insertions have reduced tension placed on them. The needles assist in resetting the muscle neurologically as well as produce a local stretch to the motor band.

You may be concerned if this technique is painful, but most clients have no objections to how it feels. The needle itself is so thin that most people cannot feel them until the twitch response occurs, which is very brief reflex/twitch type feeling, and may reproduce your symptom. A normal treatment of dry needling needs to occur for 1-2 times a week for 2-4 weeks to see lasting results as well as proper neuromuscular re-education to train your muscles.