WHAT IS DRY NEEDLING THERAPY? (REASONS AND BENEFITS)
Dry needling therapy is a type of physical therapy developed by contemporary practitioners of Western medicine. Dry needling treats muscular pain with the insertion of very thin and fine (filoform) stainless steel needles into well-defined points within the affected muscle. This precise intramuscular stimulation can be very effective in promoting healing, relieving pain, and improving range of motion, all without the use of drugs or medication.
This type of therapy may be particularly attractive for patients who are sensitive to pain medication or for those whose pain levels have not improved even after multiple session of other physical therapy, rest, exercise, or surgery. Dry needling increasingly has been finding usage among patients with chronic conditions that have resulted in long-lasting pain.
Other names for dry needling therapy include:
- myofascial trigger point dry needling
- myofascial acupuncture
- tendomuscular acupuncture
- sports acupuncture
PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF DRY NEEDLING
From a purely medical perspective, whether in search of a concentration of chi or a neuromuscular/myofascial trigger point, the physiological effect of inserting a needle through a patient’s skin will have the same effect on the body’s immune system.
1. The needle creates a minor tissue puncture injury.
2. The injury causes inflammation at the site (characterized by redness, swelling, pain, and heat).
3. The inflammation stimulates the body to increase amount of blood flowing to the injury site, which also automatically increases the oxygen supply, which in turn leads to more rapid healing.
When properly inserted in to the correct trigger point in the targeted muscle, the dry needle will trigger what is known as the local twitch response: the involuntary contraction of the band of taught muscle fibers within the muscle. Once this reflex has been triggered, the following additional physiological benefits can occur:
- Decrease in the amount of spontaneous electrical activity generated by the treated muscles
- Decrease of the length tension of the muscle fibers
- Increased blood flow and oxygenation
- Decrease in pain, triggered by a decrease in both SP (substance P) and CGRP (Calcitonin gene-related peptide)
- Hyperstimulation analgesia: the stimulation of both large myelinated fibers (i.e., Aβ-and Aδ-fibers), as well as C-fibers, achieved indirectly via the release of inflammatory mediators
DRY NEEDLING THERAPY IN PRACTICE
Dry needling therapy has been used throughout the world for years. It is an accepted treatment in use by physical therapists in most US states, for the treatment of the following conditions and more:
- Acute and chronic injuriesHeadaches
- Neck and back pain
- Muscle spasms
- Hip and knee pain
- Muscle strains
- Elbow pain
- PFPS (Runner's Knee)
- Overuse injuries
As a tool for physical therapists, the use of dry needling allows for the precise targeting of deep tissues that cannot be reached by surface touch. By using the filoform needles to release or inactivate trigger points, therapists have a powerful tool to relieve pain and improve range of motion.
Dry needling may improve pain control, reduce muscle tension, and normalize dysfunctions of the motor end plates (the locations from which nerve impulses are sent to muscles)—all of which can speed a patient's return to active rehabilitation.
Whether dry needling therapy is viewed as an evolution of traditional Chinese medicine, or as a relatively new field developed by contemporary Western medical practice, this technique—whatever form or description it has taken through history—has been helping millions of people for thousands of years. It is a safe, tested, and medication-free option for the successful treatment of pain.
If you are interested in learning more about dry needling as a therapy option, contact Complete Chiropractic and Rehab Center, LLC – 262-354-0655