Dry Needling…What is it?

One of the most popular pain relieving therapies right now is dry needling, commonly referred to as trigger point dry needling. Patients find relief of many types of pain caused by muscle ‘knots’ or ‘trigger points’ and tightness in an area. Most commonly, physical therapists will use dry needling in addition to other therapies as a part of your treatment plan.

What can I expect during a dry needling session? Your physical therapist will insert very thin, dry needles into your “trigger points”. Trigger points are tender spots in the muscle created by prolonged or inappropriate contraction. Therapists are trained to locate your trigger points and appropriately place the dry needles where you need them the most.

How does inserting a needle help with pain? As described above, dry needles are placed according to your trigger points. The needle triggers a response in your body to allow blood flow to the area. Blood flow releases tension and relaxes trigger point muscle fibers, pain, pressure, and inflammation. According to Cleveland Clinic, the prick sensation can also fire off nerve fibers that stimulate the brain to release endorphins – the body’s own “homemade pain medication.”

Is Dry Needling the Same as Acupuncture?

While they seem similar, Acupuncture is a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and is solely focused on altering the flow of Qi (energy). Dry needling is a westernized form of medicine and while similar needles are used during both therapies, dry needling is solely focused on pain and tension release.

Feel free to reach out to our clinics with any questions about this treatment