What’s Dry Needling and really should You Attempt It

 

Dry needlinghow does it differ from acupuncture? What is it used for?

Video taken from the channel: BJC Health


 

Dry Needling by a Physical Therapist

Video taken from the channel: ChoosePT


 

09_Trigger Point Dry Needling

Video taken from the channel: Larry Keeley


 

Dry Needling for Shoulder and Lower Neck Pain

Video taken from the channel: Dr. Kevin Brown


 

How dry needling can help muscle pain | Ohio State Sports Medicine

Video taken from the channel: Ohio State Wexner Medical Center


 

Dry Needling

Video taken from the channel: ChristianaCare


 

Dry Needling Probable Rotator Cuff Tear

Video taken from the channel: Dr. Kevin Brown


Dry needling is used to relieve pain and improve mobility issues. The technique involves a “dry” needle – meaning there is no medication on it – being inserted into the muscle. Dry needling may. Dry needling is one of the tools acupuncturists may use in their practice.

The disparities in training led the American Medical Association to adopt a policy that physical therapists and other non-medical doctors practicing dry needling should meet the same standards for training, certification and continuing education that exists for acupuncture. Fan supports the 2016 recommendation, noting, “Dry needling is a form of acupuncture, and for the safety of public. Dry needling, also known as intramuscular stimulation, trigger point dry needling, or myofascial dry needling, is an outpatient procedure that involves fine, short stainless steel needles inserted into skin and muscle at trigger points. This helps to release the knot and relieve pain and muscle spasms. 3 .

Dry needling (DN) is a treatment technique, in which small filament type needles are inserted into myofascial trigger points (known as painful knots in muscles), tendons, ligaments, or near nerves in order to stimulate a healing response with the goal of permanently reducing pain and dysfunction. Dry needling “typically involves an invasive procedure in which an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin and muscle,” says Jason Trinh, director and head physiotherapist at FXNL Rehab. The practitioner uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate a trigger point in your body. Dry needling is a modern treatment designed to ease muscular pain. Its popularity is growing.

During dry needling, a practitioner inserts several filiform needles into. Dry needling treats muscle tissue, and its goal is to reduce pain, inactivate trigger points and restore function. It rarely is a standalone procedure. Rather, it often is part of a broader physical therapy approach incorporating other traditional physical therapy interventions into treatment. Then you start to feel the myofascial pain fade away.

What should I expect after dry needling therapy? Soreness is common after a dry needling session. It’s similar to how you feel sore after strength training.

Most often, the soreness resolves within 24 hours. You can help reduce it with ice, heat and gentle stretching. Dry needling is a technique performed by physical therapists to treat muscular pain. With dry needling, we use thin needles to go into trigger points in the muscle with the goal of releasing or inactivating the trigger points and decreasing pain. Dry needling is also called trigger point dry needling or myofascial trigger point dry needling.

It is done by acupuncturists, some chiropractors, medical doctors, and some physical therapists (PTs) to treat myofascial pain. The word “myofascial” is made up of the roots “ myo ” (which refers to muscle) and “ fascia ” (which refers to the tissue that connects muscle).

List of related literature:

To further improve the effects of dry needling, active exercises or other therapeutic interventions after dry needling may enhance the gains achieved with the technique.

“Trigger Point Dry Needling E-Book: An Evidence and Clinical-Based Approach” by Jan Dommerholt, Cesar Fernandez de las Penas
from Trigger Point Dry Needling E-Book: An Evidence and Clinical-Based Approach
by Jan Dommerholt, Cesar Fernandez de las Penas
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2018

There are three different approaches to perform dry needling.

“Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body E-Book: The science and clinical applications in manual and movement therapy” by Robert Schleip, Thomas W. Findley, Leon Chaitow, Peter Huijing
from Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body E-Book: The science and clinical applications in manual and movement therapy
by Robert Schleip, Thomas W. Findley, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013

Baldry advises superficial dry needling, 2–3 mm depth, to deep dry needling, to reduce post-treatment soreness.

“Clinical Naturopathy: An evidence-based guide to practice” by Jon Wardle, Jerome Sarris
from Clinical Naturopathy: An evidence-based guide to practice
by Jon Wardle, Jerome Sarris
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014

Dry needling has shown benefits in treating musculoskeletal pain (Edwards & Knowles 2003).

“Animal Physiotherapy: Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Animals” by Catherine McGowan, Lesley Goff
from Animal Physiotherapy: Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Animals
by Catherine McGowan, Lesley Goff
Wiley, 2016

Dry needling is a relatively new therapeutic procedure used as an alternative to soft tissue mobilizations to treat myofascial trigger points.111 The procedure involves inserting a fine needle into the muscle belly near the trigger point and symptomatic region.

“Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity, E-Book” by Terri M. Skirven, A. Lee Osterman, Jane Fedorczyk, Peter C. Amadio, Sheri Felder, Eon K Shin
from Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity, E-Book
by Terri M. Skirven, A. Lee Osterman, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2020

Provides longer-lasting stimulation of a given point than dry needling alone.

“Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Ruminant” by Christopher Chase, Kaitlyn Lutz, Erica McKenzie, Ahmed Tibary
from Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Ruminant
by Christopher Chase, Kaitlyn Lutz, et. al.
Wiley, 2017

One of the first prospective scientific studies of dry needling was published in 1980 and showed its effectiveness in the treatment of injured workers with low back pain (Gunn et al 1980).

“Neck and Arm Pain Syndromes E-Book: Evidence-informed Screening, Diagnosis and Management” by Cesar Fernandez de las Penas, Joshua Cleland, Peter A. Huijbregts
from Neck and Arm Pain Syndromes E-Book: Evidence-informed Screening, Diagnosis and Management
by Cesar Fernandez de las Penas, Joshua Cleland, Peter A. Huijbregts
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011

Superficial Dry Needling and Active Stretching in the Treatment of Myofascial Pain: A Randomised Controlled Trial.

“Trigger Point Dry Needling E-Book: An Evidence and Clinical-Based Approach” by Jan Dommerholt, Cesar Fernandez de las Penas
from Trigger Point Dry Needling E-Book: An Evidence and Clinical-Based Approach
by Jan Dommerholt, Cesar Fernandez de las Penas
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013

Dry needling involves repeated needling to the affected tendon to cause localized trauma and induce inflammation and formation of granulation tissue, which strengthens the tendon.

“The Sports Medicine Physician” by Sérgio Rocha Piedade, Andreas B. Imhoff, Mark Clatworthy, Moises Cohen, João Espregueira-Mendes
from The Sports Medicine Physician
by Sérgio Rocha Piedade, Andreas B. Imhoff, et. al.
Springer International Publishing, 2019

Dry needling can be divided into superficial and deep dry needling techniques (Dommerholt et al. 2006b).

“Chronic Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction E-Book: Practical Physical Medicine” by Leon Chaitow, Ruth Jones, Sasha Chaitow
from Chronic Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction E-Book: Practical Physical Medicine
by Leon Chaitow, Ruth Jones, Sasha Chaitow
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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22 comments

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  • i have pretty bad back pain and ive been dry needled in my mid back, lowback, glutes, hamstrings, and quads! its the first thing i ask for when i go, and its helped tremendously

  • Nice one, Great Effort, Hell Yeah, Amazing, Good Stuff, Nice Stuff, What in the Hell, Fabulous Work, Amazing Video, Totally Nailed, Whatapp…. lol what are these comments.

  • 54 hours of training is not “the best service with the best education.” As said in the other comments, Acupuncturists/Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine have the best education, years of training, years of supervised needling prior to graduation. Years. Physical Therapists are amazing and are absolutely essential to the medical field; please do not degrade a PT’s reputation or ability to deliver their care by allowing them to injure patients using therapies they are not adequately trained for, such as dry needling. Acupuncturists are tired of re-educating and re-establishing trust with patients who were previously injured by dry needling from Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Physician Assistants, Dentists and Nurses. We all took the oath where the first rule of medicine is to “Do No Harm.” This often means referring your patient to the practitioner/modality “with the best education” because it is not about you, it’s about them. The patient. Always. So be honest with yourself and with your patients, and do please offer them “the best service with the best education” by referring out and not placing them in harm’s way.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I am a medical provider in a hospital, I always put patient care above anything else. I have absolute respect for Physical Therapists, there is no second fiddle to what they do, but I am increasingly worried by the injuries from dry needling due to lack of training. Acupuncturists do not generate the same numbers of injuries as practitioners of dry needling and I think all health care professionals should park their egos, look at the numbers, and leave filiform needle manipulation work to Acupuncturists/Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are they experts of that field hands down, bar none.

  • Just had my very first experience with this technique today. I’m sorry. Not a fan at all. The therapist did it 3X to my right hamstrings. It hurt worse with each needle. I pray that I never ever have the need for the therapist to suggest that as an option. Not ever again!

  • Hi, can someone tell me if u did the right thing? My physical therapist tried to do this on me and I got scared and just ran out? I don’t trust this.

  • My Dr used this on me for a recurring tennis elbow and it workedalmost immediately! This was so much better than cortisone shots. I am sold!

  • Accupuncture is a crock of shit and a huge waste of money,time and energy for someone with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

    Most people who do accupuncture cannot for the life them explain what they’re doing. Most people who receive accupuncture have no idea what they’re receiving.

    With that being said for anyone who is seeking dry needling, be very very VERY cautious of someone (especially a PT) who only has a weekend course worth of needle knowledge and experience.

    Dry needling will make accupuncture obsolete in the coming years. Its only a matter of if time

  • Did he really just say that PT’s need 54 hours and two tests to preform dry needling? Wow, that is a lot!! Oh wait, acupuncturists require 3,000 hours, and the testing is of the most difficult nature in any for of medical practice. A lot of students dont make it. PT’s certainly have their place, but do not expect them to encompass a full scope of knowledge when it comes to needles. Leave that to us, that practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • 54 hours huh? As opposed to 3180 contact hours ( including 900 hands on clinical hours) to become a competent Acupuncturist…. Typical of western bio-medicine such a long track record of plagiarizing what is deemed useful, always looking for a Short-Cut and “Quack-erizing” anything that doesn’t neatly fit the western model.

  • thank you for posting this informative video on dry needling. I have posted this the Neck Pain Support Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeckPainSupport/

  • Not completely accurate in terms of reference to acupuncture. Not all acupuncture is meridian based. What has recently been termed ” dry needling ” by physical therapists, has been called ashi points for thousands of years. Also, many of the ancient acupuncture points are motor points, proving that “dry needling” is not newer or different than acupuncture. Lastly, a key reference piece used in this video, by Helen Langevin, recognizes acupuncture as affecting the fascial system that is not just localized in trigger points but is pervasive throughout the entire human body. The myofascial planes are congruent to the acupuncture meridians.

  • My PT just did this to me on the same area and after few minutes I almost lost conciousness and dizzy. Anyone knows what causes that? I also puke a bit after.

  • Is this suppose to be an aseptic procedure? He uses his gloved hands to touch the chart on the wall, He then uses the same gloved surface to push the needle into the tissue and can potentially introduce contaminants and bacteria. I can see that the needle does have a sheath covering the full length but he removes the sheath and further pushes on the shaft of the needle.

  • It’s been a few years since this was posted wish I seen this then, I had a brain surgery in early 2015. Chiari Malformation is what I have I had the brain stem decompression surgery involved with it. And for years Iv had reoccurring migraines and it stems largely from certain parts of my back that knot up and then cause the problem. Wondering if this could be a doable thing to release the tension to alleviate the migraines in literally anyway. In duration, severity or even frequency of the migraines I still have. If you would know or anyone else that would be cool to know.

  • THIS IS GARBAGE. Youre not an acupuncturist, and you’re technique is trash. If you dont have a license, you shouldnt be practicing acupuncture. Please do not even try to say dry needling is different than acupuncture. It is not! We acupuncturists learn all of the motor points for orthopedic treatment as well as the meridian system. We do exactly what you do and we do not threaten the health of our patients. Not only do people like you cause almost all of the pneumothorax situations in the hospitals but you injure patients and cause poor reactions which make people afraid of needles and less likely to GET REAL ACUPUNCTURE! People, like yourself, who think you can simply market a medical technique with a different name to circumvent actual licensing make me sick.

  • Trash. Less needles more pistoning.

    For anyone watching this video this is not how dry needling is done. The needle is supposed to be inserted in and out of the muscle to break up the knot. Leaving the needles in does nothing

  • I had my first dry needling session last week… it definitely helped with the healing process much the same spot / same shoulder as this patient.. I have done very light exercise since and resting for a few weeks doing weight bearing exercise and stretching no swimming / surfing or heavy weights.. ��������‍♂️������

  • Todd is correct. Dry needling is a subset of acupuncture. The points used are termed Ashi point, which means “ouch, it’s (painful)” in Chinese language. Acupuncture treats not just pain but a variety of medical conditions with great effectiveness if it’s done properly.

  • hi
    can i use this video
    for intruducing patient in South KOR please?

    It’s amazing video what understands mechanism of healing muscle.

  • EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET THIS TREATMENT. NOT LEGAL IN NYS FOR PT’S OR CHIRO’S. CAN’T FIND A DAM ACUPUNCTURIST TO DO IT AND THEY COMPLAIN THAT THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO SHOULD BE DOING IT. I HAVE BEEN DISABLED BY TP’S KNOTS’ FOR MANY YEARS. NO RANGE OF MOTION. NOTHING WORKS, BUT TP INJECTIONS HAVE HELPED BUT NEED SO MANY AND IT ALWAYS COMES BACK

  • Nice videos man… i once had physiology as my main subject in high school….so love it…i subbed u man…could u subb me back as well…just love ur videos by the way….

  • If you have only learnt a weekend course, don’t pretend to be experts. The demonstration was all wrong: not in a supported position, the practitioner touched the shaft of the needle! (not touching for dry needling but acupuncture)