I am often asked what dry needling is, and how it works. Dry needling, in a sense, is very similar to acupuncture, when it comes down to the tools that we use. We use very thin filaments, which are inserted into the tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments that are dysfunctional and deranged. However, with dry needling, our main focus is on musculoskeletal pain, reduction of pain, and enhancement of soft tissue function.
In a simple form, dry needling normalizes and resets the muscles and tissue to its original homeostatic function. For instance, if a muscle is too tight, tense, and has trigger points and adhesion, dry needling resets it back to a normal density with no spasms or tension. On the other hand, if the muscle is inhibited and is not functioning, as it should, dry needling will reset the mechanism in that muscle, helping to reawaken it.
There are several theories about how dry needling works. One of the predominate theories was proven by observing the brain in a functional MRI, while a patient was treated with metal needles that were not conductive to magnetic fields. This study showed, that the brain sensors responsible for pain reduction became more active, and in turn secreted pain reduction chemicals, such as endorphins.
Another theory suggests that the very thin filaments that are inserted into the tissue, even though they are quite thin and unnoticeable in almost all instances, create damage to thousands of cells. The brain perceives this damage, and initiates a healing effect and rejuvenation of the tissue.
In another study, it was shown that the biochemical changes that occur around the needle are favorable in reducing inflammation and pain. A final theory of how dry needling works is a study that suggests that a properly placed needle in a triggered point of a muscle or tendon, will send a signal to the nervous system in a reflex form, which will reset the muscle and tissue fibers.
Dry needling differs from acupuncture, in a sense that it does not follow the meridian channels, and focuses primarily on musculoskeletal pain. At our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic, we utilize dry needling for a variety of symptoms, such as runner knee pain, TMJ, and headaches.
If you have been suffering with pain and are looking for an alternative treatment, contact Integrated Health Solutions, an affordable Indianapolis chiropractic clinic, today at 317.449.2020.
About Integrated Health Solutions
Dr. Charbel Harb is a licensed chiropractic physician and the Medical Director of Integrated Health Solutions. Our core belief is that each patient who walks through the doors is a person, not just a medical record or chart. Our greatest pleasure is bringing joy to our patients and helping them to fully embrace life, allowing them to enjoy each day: active, healthy and pain free.