Intramuscular manual trigger point dry needling therapy, or dry needling for short, is a modern, alternative treatment that is used for relieving referred muscle pain and spasms. It is not the same as acupuncture and has been developed from medical studies. Dry needling involves multiple advancements of a tiny filament needle into the painful 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 has been proven to be an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain with very few side effects.
This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating myofascial pain and dysfunction. The needle used is very thin, and most patients do not even feel it penetrate the skin. A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle. However, if the muscle is sensitive or has “active” trigger points within it, the patient will feel a sensation like a muscle cramp or a shock. This is the “twitch response”. The patient also may feel a reproduction of their pain, which is helpful to the physical therapist in diagnosing 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 function to the involved muscles. It is important to remember that while dry needling may sound like acupuncture, the techniques are different. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine and can be an excellent physical therapy treatment to help reduce your pain and restore normal mobility.
If you are interested in learning more about dry needling and want to get better, faster, please call us today to make an appointment.