Dry needling is an intramuscular procedure that uses the insertion of monofilament needles into, alongside, or around nerves, muscles, connective tissue, subcutaneous fascia, and scar tissue. It is used for the management of pain and dysfunction in neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
Dry needling uses thin needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues. Stimulating a trigger point with a needle helps to draw normal blood supply back to the area, release tension, and effect pain-sensitive nerve endings. Electric stimulation may be added to accelerate and enhance the pain-relief process. Electrical stimulation helps treat pain by increasing blood flow and stimulating larger nerve fibers.
A brief sensation of stinging or discomfort can be felt when the needle hits a trigger point. This often lasts no more than a few seconds. The needle may also elicit a “twitch response” causing an unconscious muscle spasm.