What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is an effective and efficient technique for the treatment of muscular pain and myofascial dysfunction. Other terms commonly used to describe dry needling include trigger point dry needling and intramuscular manual therapy.
Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and performed by acupuncturist, which tends to be a more superficial treatment that focuses on restoring energy or “Qi” to the body. It is thought there are blockages that can be restored by properly placing needles along energy channels called meridians.
What does it do?
Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles and is supported by research. Preliminary research studies support that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates (the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles).
This can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation. Proper dry needling of a myofascial trigger point will elicit a local twitch response (LTR), which is an involuntary spinal cord reflex in which the muscle fibres in the taut band of muscle contract. This quick contraction of the restricted fibres leads to a reflex relaxation and of the bunched up muscular fibres.
This enables the return of adequate muscle length, normal blood flow and the release of toxins that may have built up from the previously poorly nutrient depleted area of tissue.This release can immediately improve range of motion, decrease pain and improve function.
Patients often feel a significant cramping sensation from the twitch response but then feel an immediate improvement of their symptoms. Dry Needling can be a powerful adjunctive treatment, though it is important to remember that it is only one part of the treatment component.
Our therapist will likely also address biomechanical muscle imbalances, postural dysfunctions, muscular flexibility limitation, strength deficits and swollen or stiff joints.