Dry needling is a technique that physical therapists use for the treatment of myofascial pain and associated movement impairments. The term “dry needling” is used to describe the solid, thin filiform needle through which no fluid is moved into or out of the body. Not to be confused with acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists, dry needling is performed by physical therapists and based on Western medicine principles.
Specifically, dry needling is used to stimulate myofascial trigger points and muscular connective tissues with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points. Dry needling is used to reduce pain, reduce muscle tension, and normalize neuromuscular communication. It is most effective when used in conjunction with a larger treatment plan that includes stretching and strengthening. When added to an appropriate treatment plan, dry needling can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation.