Also known as trigger point dry needling, is the use of solid filiform needles (also referred to as acupuncture needles) for treatment of muscle pain, including pain related to myofascial pain syndrome. It is a technique used by chiropractic physicians, some medical and osteopathic physicians, and some physical therapists and is similar to acupuncture, in that an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin to alleviate pain. However, the primary difference between acupuncture and dry needling is that acupuncture treats for the purpose of influencing the flow of Qi (or energy) along traditional Chinese meridians, while dry needling follows evidence-based guidelines, recommended “point” locations, and dosages for the treatment of specific conditions.
We use dry needling with the goals of addressing neuromuscular conditions, relieving pain, and/or improving range of motion. Evidence to date supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. This can help speed up the patient's return to active rehabilitation.