What Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling involves the insertion of needles into muscle tissue for the purpose of alleviating myofascial pain. This myofascial pain typically occurs when muscles form hard knots called trigger points. These trigger points not only feel painful or tender in their own right, but they also refer pain along nerve pathways to other, sometimes quite remote parts of the body. The insertion of the needle into a trigger point forces the knotted muscle tissue to relax, which in turn stops the flow of painful sensations.
You may think that this sounds similar to acupuncture, but dry needling and acupuncture work in very different ways. Acupuncture aims to correct a wide range of physical disorders based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dry needling is a Western technique that focuses on relieving specific neuromuscular symptoms caused by trigger points or other myofascial problems such as adhesions (internal scar tissue buildup).
Conditions Treated by Dry Needling
Because referred pain plays a role in so many chronic pain syndromes, dry needling can prove a highly versatile healing modality. Dr. Glodzik may prescribe it for headaches, pelvic pain, neck or back pain, tendonitis, temporomandibular joint disorder, night cramps, or even "phantom" pain sensations. Dry needling's ability to relieve soft tissue pain also makes it highly effective for common overuse or strain-related disorders, including repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
What to Expect From a Dry Needling Treatment
Similar to acupuncture, the needles employed for dry needling sessions are exceptionally thin and do not penetrate deeply. This means that the needles themselves shouldn't cause pain, although you may experience a tingling sensation. Our team in Washington will use proper protective equipment and practices to ensure a sterile environment for the procedure. While dry needling is considered safe for the vast majority of people, we may recommend alternatives if you are pregnant, recovering from recent surgery, or taking blood thinners. Contact Washington Injury & Sports Performance Clinic at to learn more.