Dry Needling is also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS) and trigger point dry needling (TDN) is a treatment technique that utilizes thin, solid filament needles to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscles, and connective tissues for the management of neuromuscular pain and movement impairments. Myofascial trigger points are knots in muscles that can contribute to pain, decreased flexibility and decreased muscle function. DN is an effective and efficient method of releasing trigger points, especially when used in conjunction with other manual soft tissue techniques. It is a safe, effective and efficient treatment used to:
- Release muscle tension, via local twitch response, to allow for restoration of normal muscle length and function of muscles.
- Restart the inflammatory process in order for repair and remodeling of connective tissues to occur
- Improve pain conrol.
Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture
The only similarity between acupuncture and DN is the use of an acupuncture needle. Traditional Acupuncture aims to promote health and restore "energetic balance" by stimulating certain acupuncture points found along certain meridians throughout the body. DN is based on anatomy and neurophysiology and its aim is to needle altered or dysfunctional tissues in order to improve or restore function, in most cases specific myofascial trigger points. The only similarity between acupuncture and DN is the use of the same equipment.
Conditions Treated by Dry Needling
Dry needling has successfully been used to treat a variety of conditions including:
- Head and Neck Pain - including whiplash and headaches / migraines, degenerative joint disease, degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis
- Orthodontic (Jaw and Occlusal) Pain - including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
- Shoulder Pain - including rotator cuff muscle tears, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), tendonitis and impingement syndrome
- Elbow Pain - including lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow)
- Hand and Wrist Pain - including gamekeeper's thumb, DeQuervain's syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis
- Back and Hip Pain - including lumbar degenerative disc disease, arthritic changes and herniated discs
- Knee Pain - including degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis
- Shin / Ankle / Foot Pain - including shin splints, ankle sprains, metatarsalgia, Morton's neuroma, and Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
- Acute and Chronic Tendonitis
- Athletic and Sports-related Overuse Injuries
- Post-surgical Pain
- Post-traumatic Injuries, Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA), and Work-related Injuries
- Other Chronic Pain Conditions - including myofascial pain and myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)
How long does it take for the procedure to work?
In some cases, decreased pain and improved mobility is immediate. Typically, it may take a few treatment sessions for a lasting positive effect. Again, we are trying to cause mechanical, biochemical and neurological changes without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to deactivate trigger points, disrupt pain and to restore optimal muscle function.
What side effects can I expect after the treatment?
It is typical to experience soreness in the area treated for 1-2 days. The soreness is quite tolerable for most and is easily alleviated with cold/heat and stretching.
How do I know if I am a candidate?
Speak with one of our therapists or schedule an appointment to determine if DN would be an appropriate for your injury or condition. In the State of Connecticut, you may see a physical therapist without obtaining a prescription; however, there are insurance limitations that may restrict your access to a physical therapist.