Dry Needling

Dry Needling can provide relief for muscular pain and stiffness by targeting myofascial trigger points to improve flexibility and increase range of motion. The practice of involves inserting an acupuncture needle into the loading point of a muscle, and is typically used to treat the pain associated with injuries or tight areas of the body. 

Dry needling can elicit a local twitch response that can aid in settling down a hypertonic muscle, or waking up a muscle that has been poor at ‘firing’. It’s a common practice to treat sports injuries, muscle pain and fibromyalgia pain.

An excerpt from Integrative Pain Medicine

Myofascial trigger points are a commonly overlooked cause of chronic neuromusculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Examination for trigger points requires good palpation skills and understanding of the common referral patterns of myofascial pain. The unique neurobiology of muscle pain and the concepts of peripheral and central sensitisation provide new insights into the pathophysiology of myofascial pain. Acupuncture dry needling is an effective technique for treating myofascial pain particularly when local twitch responses are elicited. Uncovering the biochemical profile of active myofascial trigger points and determining the local biochemical effects of needle insertion may help elucidate mechanisms behind the initiation and amplification of myofascial pain and how dry needling works.

Jay P. Shah, senior staff physiatrist and clinical investigator in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at the NIH Clinical Center

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