WHAT IS DRY NEEDLING
Dry needling (DN) is a skilled intervention used by physical therapists that uses a thin needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch 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. 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.
INDICATIONS FOR USE
DN may be incorporated into a treatment plan when myofascial TrPs are present, which may lead to impairments in body structure, pain, and functional limitations. TrPs are sources of persistent peripheral nociceptive input and their inactivation is consistent with current pain management insights. DN also is helpful with restrictions in range of motion due to contractured muscle fibers or taut bands, or other soft tissue restrictions, such as fascial adhesions or scar tissue. TrPs have been identified in numerous diagnoses, such as radiculopathies, joint dysfunction, disk pathology, tendonitis, craniomandibular dysfunction, migraines, tension-type headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, computer-related disorders, whiplash associated disorders, spinal dysfunction,complex regional pain syndrome, nocturnal cramps, phantom pain, and several other musculoskeletal disorders.