Dry Needling: What is it?

Drake Kayser, DC

Lawrence, KS

A new service we have introduced to the Lawrence area is Trigger Point Dry Needling. At Midwest Muscle & Joint Clinic dry needling is one of our favorite treatment options that we love to use in conjunction with other chiropractic modalities; and we have been getting amazing results. But with it being such a new therapy option we have a lot of people asking the question, “What is it, and how does a Chiropractor utilize it?

Simply put, dry needling is the insertion of microfilament needles (acupuncture needles) into the muscles to create a microtrauma that treats:

  1. Myofascial Trigger Points (trapezius, levator scapulae, glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles)
  2. Tendinopathy (epicondylitis, patellar tendonitis, bicipital tendonitis)
  3. Scar Pain (post-surgical)
  4. Tight Muscles (chronic low back pain, knee pain)
  5. And other soft tissue pain and dysfunction (scapular dyskinesis, headaches, pregnancy)

Our clinic mainly utilizes dry needling for trigger point therapy. A trigger point, commonly known as painful muscle knots, is a hyper-irritable spot in a muscle with a hypersensitive nodule. Researchers aren’t 100% sure what causes a trigger point, but they are most often associated with overactive and overused muscles or trauma.

Benefits of dry needling vary and may include decreased pain, decreased muscle tightness, and increased range of motion. It is important to remember that every body responds differently to care.

Patients often get dry needling confused with acupuncture - dry needling is completely different. Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that utilizes needles to disrupt the electrical communication (meridians) between the skin and the organs. Dry Needling is different because it targets trigger points. This allows for a more functional and mechanical approach to treatment rather than utilizing holistic principles of acupuncture.

Although we love dry needling in our clinic, we typically take a more conservative approach to care before applying this treatment. Please communicate with the doctor if you have any present or previous history of tumors, hematomas, and/or contagious diseases as well as any joint replacements, implants, and/or cardiac pacemaker.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us - we are happy to help!

Simons, David G. Travell & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction Two Volume Set - the Trigg. Lippincott Williams And Wilkin, 1998.Deadman, Peter, et al. A Manual of Acupuncture. Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications, 2016.