Dry needling is a modern musculoskeletal treatment designed to decrease muscular pain and dysfunction.
Dry needling involves the use of several acupuncture like filiform needles into your skin. This therapy is called ‘dry needling’ due to the filiform needles used. they are fine, short, stainless steel needles that don’t inject fluid into the body like other types of medical needles. They look like acupuncture needles.
During a dry needling session, the therapist places the needles in the painful knots of the muscle, also known as, “trigger points”. Dry needling is also sometimes called intramuscular stimulation. The points are areas of pain, tension, injury, scar tissue, inflammation and restricted soft tissues to name a few.
The physiology behind dry needling is very much like that of acupressure therapy. By inserting a needle into the muscle and hitting the active/painful knot/trigger point it changes the pain gate signal from your body to the brain, decreasing our pain levels.
It also helps to suppress the oxygen from the muscle knot and once released, a new influx of blood, oxygen and healing mediators flood through the muscle to help it heal.
In and out techniques
In and out techniques, also called pistoning, periosteal pecking or sparrow pecking. All of which exhibit the needle being moved in an upward and downward position, not leaving the muscle until the end of the session. In other words, the needles don’t sit idle in the muscle for long, they are being constantly moved up and down, stimulating the healing response.
The research behind this technique is that it may stimulate the growth of new capillaries in the soft tissues, thus improving healing and recovery.
Non trigger point technique
Another type of dry needling is called non-trigger point technique. As the name suggests, it does not involve the needle to be inserted into the painful knot/active trigger point. This approach is a more broad spectrum technique which involves working on different parts of the central nervous system and its pain centres.
The therapist will insert the needles around the injured or affected area, to promote the desired outcome of pain relief. This technique is not as painful as traditional dry needling, and can have a therapeutic effect on large muscle groups.