What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling (Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), is an alternative method used in physiotherapy to reduce pain in muscles and nerves. With dry needling, the physiotherapist inserts a needle into the trigger point of a muscle. This method does not involve the use of medications. A trigger point is a tight and painful “knot” in a muscle. Sometimes trigger points require dry needling as they are too deep to be relieved with other methods.
How does Dry Needling work?
Dry needling works by lacing the needle into the trigger point, causing the muscle to grasp the needle (also known as localized twitch response). A localized twitch response encourages the trigger point to relax and switch off, reducing pain dramatically and increasing motion and flexibility.
How does Dry Needling feel?
Many people report having the needle inserted into the muscle does not feel like anything at all. It is the twitch response that may trigger some discomfort, depending on the individual. Some people feel the muscle cramping up, but soon after they feel release of tension and pain.
What can Dry Needling be used to treat?
A variety of injuries can be treated effectively with the use of the dry needling method. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Shin splints
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Low back pain
- Sciatica and piriformis syndrome
- Knee pain and Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Neck pain and whiplash symptoms
- Tennis and Golfer’s elbow
- Shoulder pain
- Repetitive overuse injuries
- Chronic pain
Who can Dry Needling help?
Before a treatment, consult your physiotherapist for an assessment to determine if dry needling is right for you. If yes, sessions can occur 1-2 times per week. Dry needling can also be coupled with other methods of therapy for best results. The total number of sessions will vary from one individual to the next until satisfaction is reached.
How does Dry Needling differ from Acupuncture?
Dry needling is not the same as Chinese Acupuncture even if it does involve the use of needle insertion into the muscle. Chinese Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles based on Eastern medicine and works with life energy (chi) all over the body. Dry needling, on the other hand, looks at the neuromuscular system and targets directly the problem area in order to decrease pain and reintroduce mobility and comfort.
What scientific evidence is there supporting Dry Needling?
Studies have recently been done proving that dry needling is an effective method to decrease pain immediately and after only four weeks for those patients with pain in the upper body. Studies are still being conducted on the effectiveness of dry needling on the lower body.