What is dry needling?

What is dry needling?

March 1, 2017

New technique relieves pain and improves range of motion

Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use (where allowed by state law) to treat myofascial pain. The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle, known as trigger points.

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.

What kind of needles are used?
Dry needling involves a thin filiform needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable.

Why dry needling?
Physical therapists use dry needling with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. Preliminary research supports 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.

How is it done?
It is done with a thin filiform needle. The purpose is to stimulate the underlying myofascial trigger points for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. It is used to treat dysfunctions in the skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissue and diminish persistent peripheral nociceptive input (pain) and restore or reduce impairments of body structure and function leading to improved activity and participation.

What parts of the body is dry needling used on?
Almost all parts – muscles of the cervical spine, shoulder, arm, hip muscles, quads, hamstring, calf muscles, lumbar spine, etc.

How do I know if dry needling is right for me?
Treatment in the physical therapy department requires a referral from your healthcare provider. Once you have received that referral, Physical Therapists Kyle Shaffer and Whitney Hueftle can discuss this treatment method with you.