Dry needling is a technique which works on trigger point release.
Now the question is what is a trigger point? Or how do we identify a trigger point?
Trigger points are hyperirritable areas of muscles that can cause significant pain and movement problems.
Trigger Point Dry Needling (TPDN) is the process of inserting a thin, filiform (acupuncture) needle directly into an area of a muscle that has developed a trigger point. The Physical Therapist inserts the thin needle into the trigger point which stimulates the muscle to relax and return to pain-free and typical function. The needle is removed within a few seconds and the number of needles used is minimal.
The most common concern regarding TPDN is almost certainly,
“Is it going to hurt?????”
It is actually rare for TPDN to be painful. Some minor discomfort and a slight cramping sensation is occasionally noted. However, patients often don’t feel anything at all during TPDN. What is more, the benefits can be immediate and profound. TPDN is typically followed by pain-relieving electrical stimulation and ice to reduce any residual soreness
WHAT DRY NEEDLING IS NOT…
Dry needling is NOT acupuncture!!
While we do use the same types of needles, the methodology and rationale is different than that of an acupuncturist.
Acupuncture depends on the use of the map of the body (meridians) to guide their treatment, however dry needling uses dermatomes and myotomes to guide its treatment plan.
Dry needling is NOT a “be all end all” treatment technique.
It is a great tool to eliminate myofascial pain, and once this is achieved, we can address whatever imbalance or deficiency was causing this pain more effectively.
Dry needling is NOT for everyone.
Some people are not appropriate to be “needled.” A few types of patients that we would not include this treatment for include patients who have recently had surgery, patients who have phobias of needles, and patients whose pain is originating from something other than their muscles.
5 INDICATIONS THAT IT IS RIGHT FOR YOU:
1. Living day to day on Pain Medications.
Pain is a good thing, although it does not always feel pleasant. Let me explain. Pain is the body’s way of saying that “something is wrong”. As we explained trigger points are not normal and need to be fixed. Needling can help control the pain and fix the problem (the trigger points). Pain medication only masks the problem and in the long term makes it worse!
2. Massage and other forms of brief relief from pain.
Much like pain medications massage, manual trigger point releases and other forms of pain management take a long time to rectify the problem and in many cases are not effective. Again Dry Needling can be a great form of fixing the problem by directly relaxing the trigger point and causing the pain to relieve the muscle relaxes.
3. Looking for pain relief with minimal side effects.
The side effects of Dry Needling are very minimal and include achiness and general fatigue (much like working out would cause). The symptoms usually last between 24-48 hours and ice is suggested to help minimize soreness.
4. Freedom from Decreased range of motion.
Often times trigger points (that painful muscle knot) can cause tightness and stiffness. That can then lead to the muscle shortening in length (loss of flexibility). Dry needling along with a stretching program can help you increase your range of motion and flexibility once more helping you become free and get back to the things you were doing.
5. Want to be active and live a healthier life.
Just take the steps to help you get back to living the life you want. One thing is certain, chronic trigger points do not just go away. And not doing anything about them can have long-term effects on your body that are extremely hard to reverse. Dry needling can help take care of the pain and stretching can help you get the flexibility back and then you get back to living life!
TPDN is not appropriate for every individual and certain medical conditions need to be taken into consideration. When utilized correctly, TPDN can be a powerful tool in reducing pain and restoring function.