Dry Needling is a treatment for muscle pain. It is a quick safe way of eliminating knots in muscles, and relieving tension from those tight muscles.
Myofascial pain is the name for pain that comes from the muscles and connective tissues associated with muscles. When muscles are overused or injured they can develop areas of spasm in the muscles. These knots are called trigger points. Trigger points can be latent – just tight areas in the muscle, or active where they can refer pain to different areas in the body.
Active trigger points can be very painful, and send pain into quite unexpected places. Common ones include the top of the shoulder, which can cause headaches.
Latent trigger points may not be as painful, but they do cause the muscle to be tighter than it should be which can cause other problems due to muscle imbalance.
Dry Needling the Muscles
Dry Needling uses acupuncture needles to effeectivly switch off the knots in the muscles. It has been known for many decades that injecting the knot with different substances relaxed them. Then a study in the late 1970s showed that it was the needle rather than the injected chemical that was having the effect. Since then needling has moved to acupuncture needles rather than hypodermic needles, as they are more comfortable.
Dry Needling is not acupuncture. It is purely based on anatomy and known effects within the nervous system. It does not pay any attention to energy medicine ideas (meridians, energy flows).
Depending on how long the trigger point has been there and the underlying cause results can vary from immediate and permanent to lasting for a few days, and requiring several sessions of needling to get a good lasting effect. What cause the trigger points in the first place is important. If the muscles are knotted up because of a problem somewhere else, then that problem also needs to be addressed or else the trigger points will just return. As such Dry needling is offered only as the result of a full physiotherapy assessment to make sure all aspects of the problem are being addressed.