Dry Needling (DN) is a technique employed by our trained physiotherapists to alleviate pain and enhance motor function in our clients. It is an invasive technique wherein fine, filiform needles are inserted at varying depths and angles at the sites of ‘Myofascial Trigger Points’ to achieve a desired response in the muscles. Myofascial trigger points (MTPs) are hyperirritable spots in taut bands of skeletal muscles identified as a common cause of non-specific aches and pains in the body.
How it works?
DN has been found useful in the management of pain related to Myofascial trigger points due to the following physiological mechanisms observed with needle application:
1. The Spontaneous Electrical Activity (SEA), allegedly the cause for the MTPs, reduces in the taut bands of the muscle with a Local Twitch Response (LTR) which is elicited on needle insertion.
2. The blood flow and hence oxygen supply increases in the ischemic region generated around the MTPs.
3. The levels of endogenous opioids and other pain relieving chemicals increase in the body.
4. Due to the mechanical nature of the intervention, the noxious signals from the pain source are suppressed and are prevented from reaching the Central Nervous System.
5. The muscle fibers and surrounding connective tissues get locally stretched and electrically polarized both of which trigger muscle/ connective tissue remodeling.
Who can Benefit?
DN may be a treatment of choice for patients with:
1. Active and latent MTP- related chronic pain syndromes
2. Referred pain syndromes
3. Non healing wounds
4. Soft tissue injuries like tennis elbow, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, etc.
5. Arthritic conditions
Out therapist will assess and evaluate the patients’ conditions and may use DN as part of the treatment plan. The procedure involves identifying (one or more) MTPs, inserting the needle deep into the muscle (taking all the necessary hygienic measures) and manipulating the needle in a specific way. The sensation felt by the patient is that of a cramp or a brief electrical shock which may also be described as painful by some. DN is a very safe and effective technique, rarely leading to bleeding or bruising. Our therapist will explain at length to the patients what to expect during and after the DN session.