Trigger point dry needling (TDN) is a highly effective therapy method for the treatment of myofascial trigger points. Combining the trigger point dry needling techniques with other manual and rehabilitative methods has shown to be very effective in the treatment of chronic pain and speeding up the recovery time.
How does trigger point dry needling work?
Trigger point dry needling utilizes a very thin filament needle. The needle used is similar to an acupuncture needle but this treatment is not considered acupuncture and is based on Western physiologic approaches. The needle is inserted into the trigger point and a local twitch response is ideally elicited. This twitch response is an involuntary contraction of the muscle that allows the muscle to relax. Sometimes electrical stimulation is applied to the needle to elicit these twitches to help the muscle relax as well. Dry needling is thought to work by disrupting a reflex arc of contracted tissue as well as stimulating biochemical changes to allow improved blood flow and healing to the area.
What does it feel like?
The filament needle is very different than the hypodermic needle you would see at a doctor's office. A filament needle is very thin, solid, and flexible vs. a hypodermic needle which is relatively thicker, hollow and has a blade tip. The filament pushes through the skin vs. cutting through the skin like a hypodermic needle would. The filament needles' properties lend themselves to a much more comfortable entry. After the dry needling treatment, immediate improvement can be noted. However, soreness is usually accompanied, which can last on average 1-2 days, followed by relief of symptoms.