Functional Dry Needling is a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves multiple advances of a small filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a trigger point.
How does Dry Needling work?
In short Dry Needling can be used to increase range of motion, decrease pain and help to restore function to a dysfunctional movement pattern.
Dry Needling of a tissue causes several physiological effects. It increases blood flow to the area and helps to decrease tight bands of tissue by restoring the normal length tension relationship. Dry needling helps to decrease pain sensitizing agents in the body, thereby decreasing pain. Dry needling has also been shown to decrease spontaneous electrical activity of motor end plates which is a dysfunctional or abnormal signal from a communication center which notifies a muscle fiber to contract. Prolonged or incorrect communication can cause tension and dysfunction within the muscle.
How does it differ from Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on predetermined Acupoints which are located on the meridians of the body while dry needling targets muscles specific to injury or area of dysfunction. In Dry Needling the needles are inserted into trigger points and palpable taught bands of tissue. The desired outcome of needle insertion is a “twitch” response from the muscle which causes the desired physiological responses. Unlike Acupuncture where the needles are inserted into the tissue and occasionally stimulated by twisting, flicking or small up and down movements the Dry Needling technique involves pistoning of the needle to target trigger points. With Dry Needling several areas of the same muscle are usually targeted and stimulation of one area lasts seconds or minutes.
What should I do after I have received Dry Needling?
It is recommended that you drink plenty of fluids post treatment. Movement is encouraged post treatment but it is important not to over work the areas that have just been treated. Some patients find benefit from using heat or ice post treatment, this is patient dependent so use whichever you find more soothing.