Dry Needling is an effective physical therapy modality used in conjunction with other interventions in the treatment of orthopedic injuries with a component of myofascial pain and dysfunction.
A physical therapist with specialized postgraduate training uses dry needling as part of their treatment protocol with appropriate patients. A solid filament needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. A trigger point consists of multiple contraction knots, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle. When inserting the needle into the muscle, it is essential to elicit twitch responses, which are spinal cord reflexes. The twitch response is both diagnostic and therapeutic, as it is the first step in breaking the pain cycle.
Many different musculoskeletal problems can be treated with dry needling. These include, but are not limited to neck, back and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headache to include migraine and tension type headache, and buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, groin strains, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis).