Dry needling uses a small filiform (acupuncture needle) inserted into a painful knot (the kind of knot you just can’t seem to get rid of with massage and foam rolling).
Trigger point dry needling is an effective therapy to treat conditions involving muscle tension and spasm, which commonly accompany arthritis, nerve irritation, muscle/ligament strains, migraines and herniated discs. It is labeled “dry” needling because there is no solution injected into the tissues (as with a hypodermic needle used in a flu shot).
When injury or trauma occurs from repetitive use, muscle tissue tends to go into a “guarded” or protective state. This protected state, also known as a contracture or trigger point, inhibits microcirculation to occur, thus preventing blood flow and hydration to reach tissues. The injury site thus becomes hypoxic (decreased in oxygen) and scar-like tissue begins to form. This will limit the muscles from functioning properly and can cause irritation of nerves. All of this can inevitably lead to biomechanical disturbances in movement, posture and gait.
Trigger points may also refer (send) pain to other areas in the body. For instance, trigger points in the neck can cause frequent headaches and trigger points in the back/shoulder blade may cause symptoms to appear in the front of the shoulder.
With dry needling, the needle itself produces the changes in the tissue by decreasing muscle contraction, reducing chemical irritation and reintroducing hydration and blood flow to damaged tissues.
Dr. Rob Satriano, DPT, is currently seeing L A R Physical Therapy patients on Saturdays. Call 410.381.1574 to schedule with Rob or email Rob for more information.