Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is a treatment for muscular tightness and spasm which commonly follows injuries and often accompanies the degenerative processes. The muscular tightness and spasm will cause compression and irradiation of the nerves exiting the spine. When the nerves are irritated, they cause a protective spasm of all the muscles to which they are connected. This may cause peripheral diagnoses, such as carpel tunnel, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, decreased mobility and chronic pain. Small, thin needles are inserted in the muscles at the trigger points causing the pain referral. The muscles would then contract and release, improving flexibility of the muscle and decreasing symptoms.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is a neurophysiological evidence-based treatment technique used by physical therapists to treat myofascial pain. Without using any medication, a “dry needle” is inserted into areas of the muscle known as trigger points and can refer pain to distant parts of the body. Physical therapists utilize dry needling with the goal of releasing/inactivating the trigger points and relieving pain. Preliminary research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.
Numerous terms have been used in conjunction with dry needling. Some of the more common terms include trigger point manual therapy, trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy. Dry Needling is not acupuncture and has no relationship with Oriental Medicine.
How Does Dry Needling Work?
- Desensitize supersensitive structures and restores function through:
- Obtaining local twitch response
- Releasing muscle shortening
- Removing source of irritation
- Promote healing by increase circulation and delivery of O2
- Mechanical, Chemical/Cellular, and Electrophysiological effect to restore normal muscle function
- Likely Neuromuscular “Reset” to allow retraining
What to Expect
Dry Needling has been practiced by physical therapists for over 20 years with minimal numbers of adverse effects reported. The most common side effects include post-needling soreness, fatigue, and bruising. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask your physical therapist.
What Athletes are Saying About Dry Needling
“Jermyn said that no formal surveys have been conducted with the players, but that roughly half of the players get treated with this procedure on a weekly or biweekly bases. Of those, 75 percent have had good rate of success, with 50 percent experiencing “extremely good success.”
–Redskins Rehab Team Member