Dry needling is a treatment using very fine filament needles to penetrate the skin and affect the underlying structures such as muscles, nerves, or ligaments. Needles activate the built-in survival mechanisms that normalize homeostasis and promote self-healing. This process consists of two parts: central and peripheral. The central mechanism needling stimulates parts of the brain that activate the nervous, endocrine, immune and cardiovascular systems and normalize the physiological activities of the whole body. The peripheral mechanism needling trigger physiological reactions around the needle sites that involve all four survival systems in desensitizing and repairing damaged tissues. While this may seem very similar to acupuncture, dry needling utilizes a westernized biomedical approach supported by scientific studies to target specific anatomical structures rather than the traditional eastern medicine philosophy centered around chi, meridians, balance and harmony. The needles are considered “dry” because they are not used to administer any drugs or medications and simply use physical stimulus, and biomedical mechanisms to influence the body to facilitate healing and relieve tension and pain.
At Jaded Body Wellness and Spine Institute, we have Doctors certified in two different types of dry needling; Biomedical Dry Needling and Intramuscular Dry Needling. With Biomedical Dry Needling, needles are inserted to cause micro-injuries to symptomatic areas, associated nerves, and surrounding structures, signaling the body to jump start the healing process. Intramuscular Dry Needling, however, targets tense muscle fibers by using the needles to elicit a twitch response and reduce tension within the muscles. Although you may feel some pinching, muscle twitching, or odd sensations, dry needling is a relatively painless treatment technique. It is important to understand that the longevity of dry needling over the past several thousand years is not based on the exact procedures of any particular style, but on its powerful underlying biomedical mechanisms.
Studies show that dry needling is an effective treatment to reduce pain and tension, improve range of motion and mobility, and promote overall healing while treating many common ailments such as:
- Low back pain
- Neck/Shoulder pain
- Nerve pains such as sciatica or nerve impingement
- Sports injuries including joint sprains and muscle strains
- Tendon Injuries such as tennis elbow
- Chronic Pain
This is only a short list of the many conditions that can be treated with dry needling in conjunction with other physical therapy interventions.