Pain is horrible to have to live with day in and day out. No matter the intensity it can be down right annoying and debilitating. You deserve to live pain free! You deserve compassion and kindness. There are pain relief options out there for you.
The increase in popularity of dry needling throughout the world is dramatically increasing. Widespread clinical benefits have been credited to dry needling but still evidence to support a mechanism of action does not exist. Do we know precisely how it works? No.. but does it matter if positive results are being seen?
The most common indication for dry needling is myofascial pain or musculoskeletal pain associated with what we call “trigger points”. Removing these trigger points means decreased tension, improved motion, higher strength and more coordination.
A trigger point is essentially what we call “knots”. They are hyperirritable, taut bands of muscle fibers. It is hypothesized that these sustained contractions of the muscle fibers lead to a local reduction of blood and oxygen flow.
There are two types of trigger points that we see in clinic active and latent. When a trigger point is “active” we see spontaneous pain or restriction during a certain movement or stretch. To contrast, a “latent” trigger point is a sensitive spot that only causes pain when compression is applied.
In order to remove trigger points the dry needing technique is used. I choose a long enough needle that is safe considering the local anatomy of concern. I then place the needle directly into the myofascial trigger point often multiple times. This type of treatment is an art and often takes multiple attempts to achieve a successful outcome.
I personally find dry needling fascinating because it is obvious when a trigger point has been released as you can observe the “local twitch response” as the muscle contracts then releases tension. This local twitch response is an involuntary spinal reflex that occurs due to the muscle being stretched. Individuals often report an immediate improvement in symptoms and can communicate when they feel the treatment as been effective.
Although rigorous large size randomized clinical trails are lacking, subjective individual experiences of positive results are plentiful. A 2013 meta-analysis and systematic review of 12 studies showed dry needling offered immediate effects when compared to control (Kietrys et al, 2013). They also found a large positive effect in overall pain reduction. To read the article click here.
The exact pathophysiological mechanisms are not known but knowing how dry needing works does not change the observed clinical benefits. Dry needling is highly complex yet the results speak for themselves.
Always remember there are pain relief options out there for you. You are incredible, and pain for you my friend, is not an option!
Kietrys, David M., Kerstin M. Palombaro, and Jeffrey S. Mannheimer. “Dry Needling For Management Of Pain In The Upper Quarter And Craniofacial Region”. Curr Pain Headache Rep 18.8 (2014): n. pag. Web.
Kietrys D, Palombaro K, Azzaretto E, Hubler R, Schaller B, Schlussel J, et al. Effectiveness of dry needling for upper-quarter myofascial pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JOSPT. 2013;43(9):620–35.