Applications of Dry Needling

Unlike acupuncture, which seems to treat everything under the sun from fertility issues to anxiety. Dry Needling is very particular in its applications. The main application is to treat trigger points. A trigger point is described as a particular point being nodular or taut and being irritable, especially with pressure.  Pain is usually the central component of a myofascial trigger point and create referred pa. in, numbness, tingling, or all of the above. The trigger point can cause severe problems, enough for a person to go to the emergency room. If your lucky, you’ll find yourself in a chiropractic clinic that offers Dry Needling, as I’ve found it to be one of the most effect tools to help get rid of trigger points. This also begs the question of how does dry needling work?

When applied, the technique is very quick and to the point. The chiropractor will initially complete a thorough exam that includes an assessment of your biomechanics (how well your joints move), common orthopedic tests, neurological tests, consultation of your past and present medical history, and a soft tissue exam. Your chiropractor should explain what he/she found and detail a  plan of how to get you better. This typically involves a multi-modal approach. That is using a combination of manual therapies, such as chiropractic adjustments, active release techniques, graston technique, cold laser therapy, massage, and Dry Needling.

Once you and your chiropractor agree that this technique is of benefit to your recovery, you will have to expose the area that will be dry needled. As a chiropractor in Denver, I mostly treat neck and back pain. The vast majority of these patients get dry needling in the hips and the shoulder area, which helps take tension off of the spine. Once the skin is exposed, the area is cleaned with alcohol, and the practitioner with gloved hands palpates for the trigger point. The needle is inserted into the trigger point and then piston like action is performed with the needle to elicit the latent twitch response. The twitch response is important as this is releasing the trigger point. The needle is withdrawn after 10-20 seconds and the process starts over with needling satellite trigger points. Patients often ask how does Dry Needling work?

How Does Dry Dry Needling Work?

The most commonly accepted theory revolves around the motor end plate of the motor neuron unit. This is the junction where the nerve that has exited the spine has attached to the muscle. This junction is dysfunctional and with trigger points, is an area of increased inflammation, and excitation. The synapse, the area where the nerve attaches, secretes a chemical to help contract the muscle.  It is this process that becomes dysfunctional, and in a way, is left on to continuously stimulate the muscle to contract, and thus a trigger point is formed. The metal needle interferes with this motor unit. The nervous system work off of electrical impulses and thus the metal needle shorts this processes and helps to reset a motor neuron unit. It is similar to sticking a piece of metal into an electrical outlet that shorts out the system.

Dry Needling in Denver is typically performed by a chiropractor or a physical therapist. It can be very effective to help reduce tension and deactivate trigger points. Excessive tension is the hallmark of most musculoskeletal problems, and thus reducing tension can help restore function to a problematic or painful area.

Author: Dr. Trent Artichoker

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211