Dry Needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle to stimulate the healing process of soft tissues (muscle "trigger points", fascia, tendons, ligaments, etc) resulting in pain relief and restoration of healthy physiology. Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.
What kind of Needles are Used?
Dry needling involves a thin filiform needle, typically .16mm - .30mm, which penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points, relaxes muscular and connective tissues, and decreases inflammation. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable.
Are there Side Effects?
Side effects may vary among individuals. Typically, only mild muscle soreness or possible skin bruising may occur.
Is it painful?
Generally, the insertion of the needle is not felt. The local "twitch response" may provoke a brief pain sensation that has been described as a tingling, aching or cramping sensation.
What is a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle that is sometimes described as a “knot.” They can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other nearby areas.
What is the Difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
The objectives and philosophy behind the use of dry needling by physical therapists is not based on the ancient theories or tenets of traditional Chinese medicine. It is instead based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Both Dry Needling and Acupuncture do, however, use the same type of tool; a solid needle filament.
Who can Dry Needle?
In Louisiana, physical therapists who have had no less than two years working as a licensed PT and completed fifty hours of dry needling course work.