To completely understand what Dry Needling consists of and how it works, let’s talk about trigger points..
Myofascial trigger points (also known just as trigger points), are described as hyper irritable spots in fascia and skeletal muscles. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibres. This small patch of contracted muscles/hyper irritable spot restricts the amount of blood supply to that area, and consequently reduces the amount of essential nutrients to the muscle to achieve muscle relaxation. Trigger Points commonly develop post exercise or when muscles are being constantly overloaded/compensating for another muscle. The most common case in the clinic is overuse/overloading of the Rhomboids from long term poor posture.
Typically, they are painful on compression and can give rise to referred pain and/or tenderness (e.g., the trigger points of the rotator cuff muscles can cause radiating pain down in your arms and hands, as well as autonomic phenomena (localized sweating, vasoconstriction or vasodilation…). Additionally, they can be divided into active and latent types. These must be differentiated from tender points found in a muscle, which in contrast to myofascial trigger points, only cause local pain upon compression .
Dry needling is a treatment technique that has been used by Physiotherapists in Canada, Chile, Ireland, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom since the 1980’s, and in the United States since 1984. Physiotherapists insert a dry needle, without medication or injection, in trigger points to treat myofascial pain .
The goal of the insertion of a fine filament needle into a trigger point is to produce a twitch response (short contraction) of the muscle being needled. This twitch of the muscle is the desired response; however, benefits can occur even without it. The simple insertion of the needle into the taut bands can interrupt the pathogenic process and produce mechanical changes in the tissue . Improvements in functional range of motion, pain relieved and ease of mobility may be seen after treatment.
If you have any questions about our Dry Needling treatment or would like to book an appointment, please do get in contact with us!
1. DRY NEEDLING FOR MYOFASCIAL TRIGGER POINT PAIN: A CLINICAL COMMENTARY
Casey Unverzagt, DPT, DSc, OCS, SCS, CSCS,corresponding author1 Kathy Berglund, PT, DSc, FAAOMPT, OCS, ATC,2 and J.J. Thomas, MPT, CMTPT3
2. Dommerholt J, Mayoral del Moral O, Grobil C. Trigger Point Dry Needling. J. Man. Manip. Ther. 2006;14(4):E70–E87.
3. Dommerholt J, Bron C, and Franssen J. Myofascial Trigger Points: An Evidence-Informed Review. J. Man. Manip. Ther.