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Dry needling is a technique that uses a fine filament needle to reduce muscle pain, spasm and stiffness. It is called “dry” needling since no fluid is injected with the needles. Dry needling can be helpful in patients with muscle strains, low back pain, headaches, neck pain, tennis elbow, shoulder pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, tendinitis (tendinopathy) and more.
We often send a small electrical current to the needles once they are inserted into the body. Your muscles are constantly receiving electrical signals from your nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves). When in pain, muscles tend to guard and spasm as a protective mechanism. While this is done with good intentions from your nervous system, the muscle guarding/spasms sometimes persist after the injury has gone away and you no longer need your muscles to guard your joint to limit motion. The artificial electrical current from electrical stimulation unit into your muscles acts as a “Control, Alt, Delete” for your nervous system, resulting in reduced muscle tone and spasms leading to less pain. This allows increased participation in active interventions, such as exercise. Dry needling is a very safe technique.