Dry needling is a procedure using solid filament, (acupuncture) needles which are inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point.
A myofascial trigger point (sometimes called a ‘knot’ in the muscle or muscle spasm) consists of multiple contracted muscle fibres, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle.
Dry needling is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles which, although similar needles are used, are not to be confused with the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique of acupuncture.
What conditions can Dry Needling help?
Dry needling can be used for a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Muscles are thought to be a primary contributing factor to the symptoms.
Conditions which respond to dry needling include, but are not limited to:
- Frozen Shoulder
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Golfer’s elbow
- Buttock pain
- Leg pain
- Hamstring strains
- Shin splints
- Muscle Spasms
- Sciatic Pain
- Hip Pain
- Knee Pain
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
How does Dry Needling work?
Pioneering studies by Dr Shah and colleagues at the National Institute of Health (USA) suggest that inserting a needle into trigger points can cause favourable biochemical changes which assist in reducing pain.
Trigger points, or muscle spasms (or ‘knots’), reduce blood flow in the muscle. This means less oxygen and nutrients to the muscle. In this unfavourable chemical state the muscle stays tight, preventing muscle metabolites from leaving the muscle and causes continued spasm and pain.
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