Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique that balances the flow of your energy, known as chi or qi, through pathways in your body called meridians. Licensed acupuncturists insert needles into specific points in your body to restore this balance. Dry needling is a more recent treatment that developed in the last few decades. It is similar to acupuncture, but it has evolved to focus exclusively on musculoskeletal pain by releasing trigger points.
A physical therapist can use a dry needling procedure to improve your musculoskeletal pain and movement impairments by penetrating the skin with a thin filiform needle, stimulating underlying myofascial trigger points, muscle tissues, and other connective tissue. This is NOT acupuncture (traditional Chinese medicine), but is an integral part of the physical therapist’s scope of practice.
Trigger points are tight bands of skeletal muscle within larger muscle groups that can cause pain, numbness or weakness. This can occur due to injury, overuse, or anxiety. These muscle knots can restrict normal blood flow and impede proper movement of muscles around the affected area, causing inflammation, and contributing to central sensitization.
Dry needling can decrease the number of trigger points, relax the muscle, and increase blood flow to help tissue heal. It can also be used in combination with other physical therapy techniques and treatments. The benefits of this treatment can last long after it has been completed. dry needling north canton