What is it and what does it do?
Dry Needling or Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is a therapeutic technique that Physical Therapists use to help an injured area start to heal.
The way TDN works is by using Acupuncture needles in specific points in muscles tendons and joints of the body that are painful or injured.
The needles are inserted and twisted to grab the myofascial tissue of the injured muscle. (think sticking a fork in spaghetti then twirling the utensil). This causes a small micro trauma (injury) to the area applied. Thus, your brain releases opioids into the blood stream to start healing the needled area (it jump-starts the healing process). Finally, an electrical current is applied to the needles to simulate the muscle and thereby causing the muscle to twitch till it fatigues. This will relieve or resolve the associated area with that muscle or joint.
How long does it take?
Usually, the treatment will last 20 minutes, the needles will be removed, and heat applied for 10 minutes. This allows blood flow to wash out any lactic acid released by the needling and help with residual soreness.
How long until I am pain free?
Usually, the pain eases the next day and patient will feel soreness in their muscles, like what you feel after you work out. Patients should try treatment for a minimum of 3 sessions. If improving another 3 – 6 sessions will be enough for most people.
Is it Painful?
The above description sounds extremely painful, but for most people you will feel little to no discomfort. When applying the electrical stem, the intensity is turned up to a threshold directed by the patient.
Problems that respond well to TDN are:
- Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hip bursitis
- Shoulder tendonitis
- Osteoarthrits hip knee
- Achilles tendonitis
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer's elbow
- And many other problems may benefit from TDN but will vary from patient to patient.