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Feel the Twitch? A Glimpse at Dry Needling

Dry needling is a practice that many of MetaTherapy’s practitioners use to alleviate muscle pain. It may at first glance seem similar to acupuncture, but they are not to be confused with one another. Dry needling was developed fairly recently and has been shown to alleviate muscle pain, tightness, and aches.


Dry needling involves the insertion of short, thin filiform needles into myofascial trigger points. These are areas in which there is muscle tightness or knots. They can be causes for restricted range of motion, referred pain, tenderness, and decreased function. This practice is often used as a part of a larger physical therapy plan. It is often used in cases of decreased range of motion due to muscle tightness and scar tissue.


While dry needling uses similar tools as acupuncture, it is quite different. Acupuncture comes

from traditional Chinese medicine, while dry needling is rooted in Western medicine. It was developed based on movement impairments, function, pain patterns, and posture.


A common form of dry needling is the in-and-out method. The practitioner will insert the needle into the trigger point, then piston the needle up and down. It is generally believed that a muscle twitch will be a clear sign that the needle has reached it’s intended target. It is shown that this twitch response makes the trigger point less irritable. It has also been shown to increase blood flow and stimulate nerve responses to alter how a person registers pain.


During the treatment, a patient may experience some discomfort and will feel the muscle

twitch. There is also some muscle soreness after the treatment that can last 1-3 days.


Dry needling is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • - Neck and shoulder pain

  • - Rotator cuff injury

  • - Sciatica

  • - Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • - Tennis and golfers’ elbow

  • - Scar tissue


If dry needling is a treatment that you may interested in, speak to your therapist at MetaTherapy!




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