Dry Needling for myofascial pain is a very effective therapy, and it often works very quickly to break up active trigger points. Other terms for dry needling are myofascial trigger point acupuncture, or trigger point dry needling.
Dry needling is a modality that is relatively unknown to the general public, and even many medical practitioners. But this is changing fast, as more and more people are trying dry needling for myofascial pain. It is a powerful treatment, and can work quite fast for chronic and acute muscular pain.
What is a Dry Needle?
Basically, a dry needle is an acupuncture needle. Acupuncture needles are very thin, filiform needles. This means they are not hollow, like a hypodermic needle. Because of this, no “wet” substance is injected into the body. Hence, the term “dry” needle is used. Technically, all acupuncture is dry needling. Hypodermic needles are about 10 times the size of an acupuncture needle. Acupuncture needles are are sterile, stainless steel, and single use only.
How Does Dry Needling for Myofascial Pain Work?
First, what is myofascial pain? Myofascial pain is pain that originates in muscles and the surrounding fascia. Fascia is very thin connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, all blood vessels, nerves, organs, and bones, and keeps them in place. So, when there are knots, or trigger points, in the muscles they create a pull on the fascia. This pull causes pain that may radiate along the fascial pathway, or stay local in one spot.
It’s very difficult to get rid of trigger points through stretching or massage alone, which is what many people try to do. A needle inserted into a painful trigger point will manually break them up, as a type of micro-surgery. When a needle releases a trigger point, it causes a muscle twitch, often felt in the same place as the pain. This is a good sign. These twitches aren’t always comfortable, and can cause soreness for up to 48 hours after the treatment. During this time, using heat and stretching the area is important. The soreness dissipates, and the myofascial pain is usually dramatically improved.
Why do I get Trigger Points?
Active trigger points usually cause myofascial pain, and dry needling for myofascial pain works very well, with long lasting results. But if the sources of trigger points aren’t addressed, they will return eventually. Different sources can be:
- Unstable joints that cause the muscles in the area to tighten
- Poor nerve conduction to an area, due to bony impingement, or vertebral disc pathology
- Poor posture
- Poor work ergonomics
- Repetitive motion
- Stress and anxiety
Many of these underlying causes of trigger points can be addressed through acupuncture, or electro-acupuncture when there are unstable joints or nerve issues. Although, when there are more biomechanical issues, often physical therapy and rehabilitative exercise are necessary. In these cases, a trusted referral will be made. In every case, though, changes by the patient have to be a part of the treatment plan. Pain is ALWAYS a call for change. It’s very true dry needling can be a helpful tool, but lifestyle changes are an essential part of any healing path.
Ross Acupuncture Clinic proudly serves as a holistic health center for the communities of Oakland and Berkeley, California, while also reaching out to those living in the broader Bay Area. Our clientele hails from diverse regions, including San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, and Contra Costa Counties, attesting to the widespread appeal of our specialized care. Through combining traditional techniques with contemporary methods, we bring highly effective acupuncture treatments to a diverse population in Northern California, promoting health and wellness throughout our expansive service area.
To read more about dry needling, check out the blog posts here.