Techniques for Dry Needling

Dry needling is an invasive physical therapy for chronic neuropathic pain that involves inserting a thin filament needle into the skin, cutaneous tissues and muscle at a myofascial trigger point to elicit a local twitch response (LTR.) A myofascial trigger point (MTrP) is an area of taut muscle fibers. A local twitch response is an involuntary spinal cord reflex in which the taut muscle fibers at the trigger point contract, relieving the pain.

Differentiation From Traditional Chinese Acupuncture

Dry needling is a Western mode of medicine that involves techniques, terminology and concepts different from traditional Chinese acupuncture. Dry needling uses modern understanding of physiology and anatomy such as neurological research and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to develop techniques for dry needling whereas traditional Chinese acupuncture uses ancient Chinese concepts of energy channels, meridian systems and pulse assessment to develop needling techniques. Dry needling is also known as biomedical acupuncture, intra-muscular stimulation (IMS) and trigger point needling. Dry needling is a treatment for a variety of conditions such as muscular hematoma, rotator cuff injuries, muscle tears, shin splints, compartment syndrome, Achilles tendonopathies, patellar femoral syndrome, groin strain, patellar tendonitis, impingement syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, medial and lateral epicondytis, carpal tunnel syndrome, hip osteoarthritis, cervical disc lesions, headaches and pelvic pain among others.

Myofascial Trigger Point Technique

The myofascial trigger point technique involves the slow insertion of a filament needle with a teflon coating into the area of injury. Dry needling the taut band of muscles elicits the LTR which causes muscle contraction. The needle's pressure on the myofascial trigger point results in immediate pain which alleviates as the needle remains in the myofascial trigger point. Dry needling is a painful process and the area of the myofascial trigger point may remain sore for up to two days after the procedure although needling alleviates most of the original pain.

Radiculopathy Technique

The term "radiculopathy" refers to pain at the root of a nerve along the spinal cord. Radiculopathy treatment involves inserting the filament needle into areas near the musculotendinous junctions or muscle motor points of the myofascial trigger point. Radiculopathy focuses on the paraspinal muscles and peripheral muscles to open the blockage of nerve impulses.

Spinal Segmental Sensitization Technique

Spinal segmental sensitization involves dry needling the myofascial trigger points that cause musculoskeletal pain. In addition to dry needling, the spinal segmental sensitization technique involves preinjection blocks and somatic blocks as well as exercises that relax the area surrounding the myofascial trigger point.