Dry Needling involves the insertion of a fine needle into the muscle in the region of a “Trigger Point’. The aim of Dry Needling is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain. Dry needling is an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin with very few side effects.
The needle used is very thin and most subjects do not even feel it penetrate the skin. A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of this needle. However if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject will feel a sensation like a muscle cramp -’the twitch response’. The patient also may feel a reproduction of their pain, which is a helpful diagnostic indicator for the practitioner attempting to diagnose the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length function to the involved muscle. During treatment, patients commonly experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling or relaxation.
Dry needling is a technique that can be used for a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Such conditions include, but are not limited to neck, back and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headaches including tension-type headaches and buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstrings strains, calf tightness/spasms).