What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a semi-invasive treatment technique used by physiotherapists that uses acupuncture needles in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome, characterized by the presence of trigger points or “trigger points”.
It is considered a semi-invasive technique, since the needles penetrate the skin, pressing and stimulating the trigger point in order to modulate and reduce the pain that they can produce or radiate.
What is a Myofascial Trigger Point (PGM)?
Trigger point is defined as a sore spot within a tight band or palpable contracture within the muscle. This pain is produced by the continuous release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which will prevent hypertensive muscle fibers from relaxing. The entire process constitutes a vicious cycle that causes local muscle ischemia (decreased blood flow) that thus favors the production and spread of pain.
Types of Dry Puncture:
- Superficial dry needling: in this case the needle does not penetrate more than 1 centimeter of tissue, so it only acts on the subcutaneous cellular tissue.
- Deep dry needling: in this case the needle penetrates deeper, until reaching the trigger point and stimulating it. The centimeters of depth in the insertion of the needle depend on the muscle and the type of trigger point.
How does dry needling work on Myofascial Trigger Points?
Dry needling treatment produces reflex muscle relaxation with increased elasticity of the target muscles. All this is produced by introducing the needle over the trigger point, to generate a stimulus of pressure and contraction in it, and consequently the release of acetylcholine and breaking the cycle of pain production.
Stimulation of the PGM with the needle is carried out in different ways, in order to provoke a response of local spasm or involuntary contraction, which will finally achieve relaxation in the muscles:
- Quickly inserting and withdrawing the needle.
- Making sweeps or twisting movements with the needle.
The Dry Needling treatment, lasting approximately 5 minutes, should be complemented with other techniques used in physiotherapy such as manual therapy and stretching that enhance the effectiveness of the technique.
It is a technique that can be slightly uncomfortable or painful while it is being performed, and that can lead to post-puncture pain for a few hours or several days. However, its high and well-proven effectiveness makes it a technique of choice in the management of myofascial pain syndrome.
Indications of the Dry Needle:
- Headaches or Headaches.
- Cervical, dorsal and / or lumbar pain.
- Muscle injuries: muscle overload, muscle elongation, etc.
- Articular Osteoarthritis: in each joint affected by degenerative processes, different PGMs are activated that trigger pain independent of the intra-articular damage itself.
- This phenomenon can be improved with the application of dry needling in said PGMs.