What is a dry needling?
Dry needling is a therapy that involves the placement of acupuncture needles that are inserted into the skin and muscle, with the goal of obtaining myofascial trigger points. These points are tender points in soft tissue, sometimes referred to as “muscle knots” or “micro cramps”.
Trigger points can be sensitive to touch, and when a trigger point is touched it can cause pain in other parts of the body.
Why is it done?
Dry needling is often performed as part of a broader treatment plan and tends not to be recommended alone. Therapists use dry needling with the goal of releasing trigger points, thereby relieving pain and, in turn, improving range of motion and releasing muscle tension.
Dry needling can provide relief for muscle pain/stiffness. It can be used in the treatment of muscle pain, sports-related injuries and fibromyalgia pain.
Dry needling is widely used for the treatment of pain in fibromyalgia patients.
What does it consist of?
Dry needling is performed by inserting a thin needle into the skin, penetrating into the muscle and connective tissues. The needle allows the therapist to reach different areas that normally could not be reached through manual therapy.
The technique is called dry needling because the needles do not release any fluid. The needles remain in the skin for a period of time, usually 10 to 30 minutes.
How to prepare for dry needling?
Make sure you have information about your therapist and, if necessary, the clinic where you will undergo the dry needling procedure beforehand, as the acceptance of the procedure and the rules vary from country to country.
Some mild side effects are associated with the use of dry needling, including bruising, some bleeding and pain. These occur around the injection site and it is best to monitor them to see that they heal properly. There are no serious side effects associated with dry needling.
Alternatives to this treatment
Some noninvasive treatments to treat pain that may be considered alternatives to dry needling include ultrasound application, ischemic compression, physical therapy exercises, and application of cold or heat.