The purpose of dry needling, similar to other soft tissue techniques, is to restore balance in tight and restricted tissues (i.e. tendons, muscles, ligaments, and fascia). Dry needling uses thin filament needles, commonly used for acupuncture, strategically placed within the soft tissue. This creates micro-trauma which stimulates the healing process and in turn restores normal tissue texture, tone, and function. The process of dry needling has been around for thousands of years. However, recent research by Janet Travell M.D., concerning her work with trigger points, has brought dry needling into recent light.
Dry needling is commonly used by chiropractors to address myofascial pain syndromes and chronic trigger points. Trigger points (TrPs) are hyper-irritable, palpable knots within a myofascial unit that have become hypoxic and dense. TrPs alter the firing rate and potential output of a muscle minimizing its efficiency, ability to function, position of associated joints, and even the effectiveness of corresponding tissues. These knots classically can create 3 different reactions: intense, sharp local pain upon palpation, shooting or referred pain elsewhere in the body, and visible local twitch responses.
To most effectively treat trigger points, dry needling is often necessary to reach the tissue depth where a trigger point might reside. The combination of a pro-inflammatory reaction created by dry needling and a personally designed rehabilitation program by your chiropractic doctor will reduce or eliminate your pain in the timeliest manner.