Dry needling is a type of alternative medicine treatment wherein hollow-core hypodermic needles or solid filiform needles are used to give relief to muscle pain. In addition, it also helps in movement impairments. In this treatment, needles are inserted through the skin into the affected areas of the muscle. It is also known as myofascial trigger point dry needling, intramuscular manual therapy, or Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS). Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles and supported by research.
How is it performed?
A practitioner who is usually a Physical Therapist certified in dry needling, will insert numerous filiform short and fine needles into your skin during dry needling. This technique is “dry” which means that no fluid will be injected in the body.
Physical therapists wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when dry needling, consistent with Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings. The sterile needles are disposed of in a medical sharps collector. The technique can be only carried on upon obtaining the patient signed consent form. In cases when physical therapists use dry needling, it is typically 1 technique that’s part of a larger treatment plan.
Why dry Needling?
Physical therapists use dry needling to release trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. This can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation.
The needles will be placed in “Myofascial trigger points” which are hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band. The Trigger points can be the cause of pain, range of movement restriction and muscle weakness. Trigger point dry needling can be carried out at superficial or deep tissue level.
Benefits of Dry Needling
Dry needling is primarily used to treat myofascial trigger points.
“Trigger points” refers to the tight bands of skeletal muscles situated within a very large muscle group. The points are tender to touch and when you touch a particular “trigger point”, it may cause pain to some other parts of your body. These “trigger points” are nothing but local contractures in a muscle fiber that restrict your range of motion or disrupt function. Dry needling helps in increasing blood flow, reducing referred and local pain, and decreasing overall tightness or banding.
Among the countless health issues that dry needling can help resolve, the most pivotal ones are as follows:
- Joint problems
- Disc problems
- Migraine and tension-type headaches
- Jaw and mouth problems (such as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD)
- Repetitive motion disorders (like carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Pelvic pain
- Night cramps
- Phantom pain
- Post-herpetic neuralgia (pain left behind by shingles)
- Low back pain/tension
- Neck pain
- Tennis elbow
- Spinal dysfunction
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