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.
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 the doctor to target tissues that are not manually palpable.
In cases when dry needling is used by doctors, it is typically a technique that is part of a larger treatment plan. A doctor may 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.
Dry needling can improve overall movement and blood flow, in addition to relaxing tight muscles and decreasing pain. Some of the common conditions treated by dry needling include:
Low Back Pain
Knee Pain (Osteoarthritis)
Shoulder Dysfunction (adhesive capsulitis, impingement, rotator cuff strain)
Tennis & Thrower's Elbow
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
IT Band Syndrome
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee)
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)