Have you ever experienced a “muscle knot” or “kink” in your shoulders, neck, or lower back? Dry needling may be an appropriate treatment method to help resolve these issues.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a therapeutic technique that involves the insertion of a very thin monofilament needle into specific areas of the muscle and connective tissue, known as trigger points, which are believed to cause muscle tension, pain, and interference with daily activities. The primary objective of this intervention is to elicit a muscle twitch response or a Latent Twitch Response (LTR), which is a key indicator of the technique’s effectiveness. This response is thought to help in alleviating pain and enhancing the functional movement of the muscles involved.
Trigger points are hyperirritable spots within the skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers. These points are often a source of both local and referred pain, sometimes contributing to chronic pain conditions. The practice of dry needling targets these points, aiming to disrupt the cycle of pain and muscle spasm, thereby promoting healing and improving muscle function.
The technique is based on modern Western medical principles of anatomy and neurophysiology, differentiating it from traditional Eastern acupuncture practices. Practitioners of dry needling use their knowledge of the body’s anatomy to identify the trigger points that are contributing to a patient’s pain and mobility issues.
Once the needle is inserted into a trigger point, the desired muscle twitch or LTR occurs, which facilitates the release of muscle tension and reduction of pain. This process can help in restoring normal muscle function and improve the patient’s range of motion. Additionally, dry needling enhances blood flow to the area, further encouraging the healing process and the removal of waste products.