Dry needling is a safe, minimally discomforting and often an effective technique for patients with certain musculoskeletal presentations. A thin monofilament needle penetrates the skin and treats underlying muscular trigger points for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.
A trigger point is a local contracture or tight band in a muscle fiber that can disrupt function, restrict range of motion, refer pain or cause local tenderness. When dry needling is applied to a dysfunctional muscle or trigger point, it can decrease banding or tightness, increase blood flow, and reduce local and referred pain.
Dry needling is not the same as acupuncture. It uses similar instruments, but both are performed quite different. Acupuncture is based on Eastern medicine, while dry needling is rooted in Western medicine.