accupunture picture for dry needling post

Trigger point dry needling (TDN) or dry needling, is a technique similar to acupuncture, but not the same in that it follows Western medical principles and targets trigger points for pain rather than the traditional meridians used in acupuncture.  TDN is typically done by acupuncturists, physical therapists, and some chiropractors in their offices.  The technique uses dry needles (hollow empty needles) that are inserted into painful knotted areas of muscle.  People who have short term success with massage often find relief of chronic pain or conditions with needling.  TDN is typically used to eliminate tension, heal overuse injuries, release knots in muscles, help speed the heal time for injuries, improve blood flow, make muscles more effective, heal chronic injuries of muscles, tendons, and joints, improve athletic performance, help with tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, and even headaches.  The exact mechanisms as to why and how this technique works is controversial and has several theories revolving around it.  However, it is thought that the dry needles placed directly into myofascial trigger points prompt a local twitch reflex which is the first step in breaking the pain cycle in the body.  The needle cuts through the muscle fibers and is seen as a foreign invader which triggers a systemic immune response.  This leads to increased blood flow to the area and decreased inflammation which in turn allows for healing.  Some people find the needling process uncomfortable while others seem unbothered by it at all.  Additionally, some people may have soreness or bruising around the needled sights after treatment.  Ice or heat can be applied to help alleviate discomfort.  Patients typically feel relief within 1-2 sessions spaced 5-7 days apart.  However, be warned, TDN is not appropriate for brand new injuries that are still swollen or tender, or for people with loose joints.  One final note, make sure you have done your research and you are certain the person who is needling you has been properly trained. This technique can lead to serious injury if done incorrectly.



Sophie Pratola
Personally Trained By Sophie