Dry Needling is an acupuncture technique that was developed by Dr Janet Travell and recently popularized by Physical Therapists in Canada and Australia. In California, only Licensed Acupuncturists and MDs can legally perform this technique so there are unfortunately very few practitioners trained in this art of trigger point release.
In Dry Needling practice, an acupuncture needle is inserted into a local area of muscle tension (called a “Trigger Point”). The treatment method is strictly based on the anatomy of muscle or muscles being treated. Under stress, muscles can shorten and produce painful syndromes which are commonly called “referral pain patterns”. If left untreated, muscles with trigger points can develop inflammation and cause localized or radiating pain.
When Dry Needling is performed a hair-thin acupuncture needle used. Most patients will not feel the needle penetrate the skin, but there may be a feeling of pressure when the trigger point is activated. If the muscle is currently in spasm and has an active trigger point, the patient may feel a sensation like a muscle cramp or twitch. If the muscle responds to treatment with a small twitch movement, called a “twitch response”, which is generally a good sign and very helpful in resolving trigger points.
Meridian Health Clinic in Santa Monica, uses Trigger Point Dry Needling to give patient fast results. Many times the results from Dry Needling are more dramatic than from traditional acupuncture treatment.