Dry Needling (DN) is considered to be a cost effective, safe, and efficient technique for
the treatment of pain and dysfunction of neuromusculoskeletal origin. It is an approach
that is based on western anatomical & neurophysiological principles. There are many
conditions that can benefit from dry needling treatments.
What is Dry Needling?Dry Needling is a form of therapy in which fine monofilament needles are inserted into muscles, tendons, ligaments, scar tissue, or near nerves to stimulate a healing response and restore normal function in painful neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Dry needling is not acupuncture or Eastern Medicine; that is, it does not have the goal of altering the flow of energy along traditional Chinese meridians. It does, however, use the same tool (thin monofilament needle) as acupuncture for the treatment of pain and dysfunction in neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as neck pain, shoulder impingement, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, knee pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or low-back pain.
What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?Dry Needling is performed by Western Medical Practitioners using Acupuncture- type needles to treat the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems based on modern neuroanatomical science. Dry Needling is used to directly affect joint, muscular, and/or neurological dysfunctions whereas Acupuncture uses principles affecting energy flow (Chi) along meridians. Acupuncture falls within the scope of traditional Chinese medicine. It would be incorrect to refer to a practitioner of Dry Needling as an "Acupuncturist".
How can DN reduce pain and improve function?-Dry Needling of neuromusculoskeletal conditions has been shown to improve tissue remodeling, extensibility, and healing. It does this by activating the fight or flight response (aka sympathetic nervous system), allowing for an increase in blood flow for pain modulation and tissue healing. It also reduces the number of inflammatory cells within a joint, which helps to keep the joint lubricated. Further, electrical dry needling helps to inhibit pain, improve the pain threshold, and break the chronicity of the pain cycle. In these ways, dry needling causes a local healing response in the dysfunctional, painful tissue, which restores normal function through the natural healing process. These healing effects allow for the targeted area to regain strength and mobility with decreased pain. -Dry Needling stimulates neural pathways which block pain by disrupting messages being sent to the central nervous system. The pain control process occurs by: 1. Activating neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, which can expand the response to other areas of the body. 2. The Gate Theory of pain. 3. Opioid suppression at the spinal cord level. -Dry Needling causes a local chemically mediated response through the release of Bradykinins, Substance P, norepinephrine, serotonin, endorphins, and other body proteins and neurotransmitters to block the transmission of pain messages.
What are common conditions that can benefit from DN?Acute and chronic tendonitis Athletic and sports-related overuse injuries Post-surgical pain Post-traumatic injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and work related injuries Chronic pain conditions Headaches and whiplash Lower back pain Arthritic Joint Pain Over and underactive nerve sensations Scar tissue remodeling
What happens after the treatments?Some people feel sore in the tissues surrounding the treatment area. The soreness typically lasts between a few hours and 3 days. This soreness is due to your body adjusting to the remodeling of the targeted tissue. It is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day after a dry needling treatment. Using heat on the treatment area is also an effective way to enhance the treatment and reduce soreness.
How long does it take for dry needling to be effective?Every person and every condition is unique, however, the typical recommendation for dry needling treatments is 1-2 times per week for four weeks. The needles will most likely remain in situ (in the tissue) for 10-30 minutes per treatment session.