What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is the application of solid filament needles into muscles for the relief of pain and dysfunction caused by trigger points. Trigger points in muscles are areas of muscle dysfunction and are a major cause of muscle pain and tightness. They can also refer pain and not be painful unless you press on them. Many times the joint pain people have is from trigger points. Whenever there is joint dysfunction there are usually trigger points related to it. The best form of treatment I know of for quickly eliminating trigger points is dry needling. In dry needling I insert a very thin needle (the same needles that acupuncturists use) into the trigger point and leave it in for 8 to 20 minutes. This may cause some mild to moderate pain that is usually very brief. Pain relief may be immediate or take 1-2 days after a period of soreness wears off. Side effects are usually mild. Compared to deep tissue massage, dry needling is usually much less painful and I find the results are usually better and longer lasting.
Quotes from David Fishkin, DC, MPH of the Dry Needling Institute
“Dry needling is not to be confused with acupuncture. Acupuncture is an Asian complete system of healing. Its theories focus on the use of specific points, meridians, and the concept of chi, or life-force.” “The dry needling procedure, however, works with myofascial trigger points and tender points. It is based on Western concepts of anatomy, physiology, neurology, and biomechanics. The only common element is the choice of tool.”
Where does the term Dry Needling come from?
Medical doctors commonly perform trigger point injections. They realized that because pain relief was often immediate (before the drug could start working) that the simple procedure of inserting a needle with no drug into the trigger point was effective. They coined this dry needling. I perform the same procedure but using a thinner needle so it is usually much less painful and much less traumatic.