Myofascial Dry Needling is a technique which is used to release areas of muscle tension or adhesions, commonly referred to as myofascial trigger points (MTRP). The technique involves placing one or more thin disposable monofilament needle(s) into active trigger points to release tissue tension and pain. The technique is referred to as dry needling due to the fact that the monofilament needles are not hollow like hypodermic needles and the technique also does not involve injecting anaesthetic into the active trigger point(s), which is a different technique. Some practitioners may also use electrical stimulation between active trigger points and dry needles. Terry, does not use either the hypodermic technique or electrical stimulation as part of his treatments or practice.
Dry needling is a very precise technique and requires practitioners to be able to palate (feel) differences in tissues, areas of tension and for active trigger points. As, the technique involves puncturing the skin it is classified as an invasive technique and can often be completely painless. However, prior education, training and experience can make a huge difference between practitioners and their application of the techniques. Some practitioners may be qualified to the level of a remedial massage therapist and then just completed a one to two day course. The training course that Terry undertook involved a theory component, followed by sixty-four hours of supervised hands on practical work. Because Terry has training in a wide variety of treatment modalities he tends to use dry needling sparingly and frequently ways up the risks and benefits over using other less invasive soft tissue techniques. Dry needling can be very effective, as myofascial trigger points can frequently refer pain and this can be easily addressed or resolved with the technique. As with other advanced soft tissue techniques the benefits or results from dry needling tend to remain or hold, which usually means the frequency of treatments is less provided other aftercare advice is followed.
Dry needling is not the same as acupuncture in terms of scope of practice or level of training and is not a regulated profession like acupuncture. Acupuncturist training can vary from Advanced Diploma level through to degree, masters or postgraduate level qualifications. Acupuncturists also treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal related ailments and conditions. Dry needling is just one technique and is used purely on myofascial trigger points, whereas acupuncturist work with meridian lines and even offer treatments for such things as infertility. Such, treatments are not within the scope of practice of a myofascial dry needling practitioner. Hence, Terry purely works in his scope of practice for dry needling and treats musculoskeletal related conditions or ailments and purely myofascial trigger points.
Dry Needling is commonly used to treat:-
- Acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
- Reduce muscle tension and pain.
- Sports injuries.
- Work related injuries
- The muscular aspects of postural related conditions.