What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling has been gaining popularity and consumers of healthcare are becoming more curious about this relatively new treatment. It involves using a thin monofilament needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscles, and connective tissues. It is termed “dry needling” because it is a solid filament needle that does not inject anything into the body. Dry needling can be performed by a physical therapist who has pursued additional training in the technique.
Dry needling is most often combined with other techniques as part of an overall treatment plan. It can be used to treat a variety of injuries from headaches to tendonitis to chronic pain.
At your appointment, a physical therapist will take a thorough medical history, review any notes from your physician, and perform a physical examination and will determine if dry needling would be a beneficial part of your treatment plan. Based on the information gathered from your examination, a plan of care will be created. The goal of your treatment plan is to improve any problems that were identified, and restore your quality of life.
Frequently asked questions about dry needling:
- Does it hurt? In some case, it can. Often, people report feeling the sting of the needle as it inserts and then an aching feeling. Very few people require the needles to be removed, as the pain of the needle typically subsides quickly.
- How long does it take? Usually about 20-30 minutes.
- How big are the needles? 30-70mm in length and 0.18-0.30mm gauge. Small needles are used for smaller muscles and sensitive areas such as: face, hands, and feet. Larger needles are used for less sensitive areas and larger muscles such as: buttocks and legs.
- Are the needles reused? No, each needle is discarded after use.
- Is it acupuncture? It uses similar needles but dry needling with a physical therapist is a very different experience than having acupuncture done by an acupuncturist. Dry needling is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Acupuncture takes its principles from traditional Chinese medicine.