Dry needling is a therapeutic technique used to treat muscular pain and dysfunction. It involves the insertion of thin, solid needles into specific trigger points or tight bands of muscle, also known as myofascial trigger points. Unlike acupuncture, which is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and focuses on the flow of energy, dry needling is based on modern Western medicine concepts and primarily targets the musculoskeletal system.
The purpose of dry needling is to release or inactivate trigger points, which are often associated with tightness, muscle knots, and referred pain. The insertion of the needle into these trigger points aims to elicit a twitch response in the muscle, followed by a relaxation response. This process can help relieve pain, improve range of motion, and restore normal muscle function.
The needles used are very thin and solid, unlike the hollow needles used in injections, and are typically inserted and manipulated by hand. The treatment may cause a brief, localised discomfort or a muscle twitch, but it is generally well-tolerated by most individuals.
It is important to note that dry needling should only be performed by qualified practitioners who have a thorough understanding of anatomy, physiology, and proper needling techniques.