Updated: Feb 24, 2020
Dry needling is a treatment technique used by physical therapists such as physiotherapists, osteopaths and myotherapists, to treat some common injuries or complaints. A fine acupuncture needle is inserted through the skin and into the muscle tissue below, aiming for the muscle trigger points.
Dry Needling can help with conditions such as
Neck and back pain
Rotator cuff tears / frozen shoulders
Dry Needling v Acupuncture
Dry needling is based on western medicine with needles typically placed in muscle trigger points/areas of soreness with gentle manipulation of the needle to facilitate a muscular twitch. Acupuncture is based on ancient Asian medicine (e.g. Chinese, Korean, Japanese) and uses meridian theory to treat the whole or parts of the body. Acupuncture points are mapped all over the body along meridian lines, and point selection is based up these specific points and lines. Acupuncture may also use a dry needling type approach to manage tender points, or 'ashi' points that are not mapped acupuncture points. Both approaches are quite different but do use the same needles.
How does it work?
There are a few theories on how this works. One is based on motor neurons getting stuck in a feedback loop causing muscle spasm. It's thought the new stimulus breaks this cycle and reduces muscle spasm.