Both Dry needling and Acupuncture involve the penetration of needles into the skin and underlying anatomy however;
Dry needling involves needle penetration at specific sites resulting in mechanical stimulation of the surrounding tissues and consequent physiological and psychological responses. In particular the Trigger point theory involves the use of needles via trigger points, both traditionally understood and found via palpation.
What is a trigger point?
A myofascial trigger point involves; can be both active and latent in nature and refers to a taut band within a muscle that is tender to touch, found on palpation, reproducing familiar pain and of which causes a local twitch when needled.
Active: local tender point and reproduces familiar pain.
Latent: often not painful until palpated and cause unfamiliar pain to client.
Trigger points are often a result of but not limited to repetitive overuse of muscle, postural overload from poor ergonomics or scoliosis and Osteoarthritis – causing loss in myofascial flexibility. Conditions that dry needling in addition to other manual therapy may help to treat and manage include Tennis and golfers elbow, headaches & many others
Responses to DNT:
Physiological: inflammatory response triggers a release of histamine, bradykinin and leukocytes which causes vasodilation, vasodilation is when the blood vessels relax and become larger which allows for increased blood flow to the area.
Psychological: regulation of the sympathetic nervous system and its neurotransmitters in response to pain inhibition and analgesic effects of the needles. In turn; the benefits of dry needling include increased circulation, decreased pain and increase movement.