Dry needling is aimed at eliminating sources of pain which arise in trigger points, which are located in the fascia, i.e. in the structures surrounding the muscle. This method is used to eradicate, for instance, headaches, neck aches, spine and shoulder pain.
Needless therapy instead of acupuncture
Dry needling, also referred to as “western medical acupuncture” may at first resemble acupuncture used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dry needling (needle therapy) is derived from acupuncture treatments. Both the needle and traditional acupuncture uses the same tool. Similarly to acupuncture, in the dry needling, specific points are punctured on the patient’s body surface using acupuncture needles. This is where the similarities end, because traditional acupuncture and dry needling are based on two completely different assumptions.
Needle therapy is based on modern neuroanatomical studies of the nervous system. For the treatment of myofascial pain, the physiotherapist must have advanced knowledge of anatomy.
Needle therapy – scientifically proven action
The name of the therapy refers to the fact that no medications are used during treatments. The therapist punctures the points in which pain is focused. Its aim is to achieve the so-called tremor reaction, which is a symptom of the needle reaching the trigger point. The use of extremely thin needles makes it a painless procedure. It is also safe if it is performed by a properly trained specialist – a doctor or physiotherapist.
For about a day after the procedure, and in some cases up to 48 hours, minor muscle pain resembling soreness caused by soreness may persist. Small hematomas may also appear very rarely, but they disappear quite quickly.
Dry needle therapy is a therapeutic method that is highly effective. Its efficiency reaches up to 90%. Such a high level of healing results from the fact that this is the only procedure that allows you to directly reach the source of pain. Thanks to this, the risk of recurrence of symptoms is lower than in the case of indirect methods. It is not uncommon for the pain to go away after the first treatment. However, it is recommended to perform several sessions at several days intervals to ensure the consolidation of the therapeutic effect.
What kinds of pain can be treated with dry needling?
- headaches of various origin, including severe pains, e.g. migraines, and chronic pains, the so-called tension headaches;
- neck muscle pains, including post-traumatic pains and pains due to overload (sedentary lifestyle);
- shoulder pains frequently additionally limiting the range of movement or radiating to the upper extremity;
- lumbar spine and/or tailbone-area pains;
- upper extremity pains (frequently involving numbness in hands);
- lower extremity pains, including the so called runner’s heel pain.