Dry needling is a myofascial trigger/tender point technique whose purpose is to neutralize dysfunctional connective tissue and restore or improve muscle functionality.
The procedure is valuable both diagnostically and therapeutically and the therapy acts to disrupt physiologically locked soft tissue. The benefits of this can be far reaching as myofascial pain and tightness play a key role in most musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Dissipating trigger points can be crucial in reducing pain generations in both the spinal and peripheral regions.
The technique is well established in the literature as an effective treatment of soft tissue dysfunction. Many authors attest to its effectiveness in case studies as well as statistically significant effects in controlled trials. It has been widespread in Europe and is gaining strength in the United States as a treatment with strong cost benefit and cost effectiveness. This procedure is not to be confused with acupuncture, which is an Oriental/Asia complete system of healing whose theories focus upon the use of specific points, meridians and the concept of balancing body energies. The myofascial trigger point dry needling procedure is based upon traditional western concepts of anatomy, physiology, neurology and biomechanics. The only commonality with acupuncture is the choice of the procedural tool, the monofilament needle. Dry needling is very well tolerated by patients of all ages and is almost painless. Therapeutic benefits will typically be seen within one to six treatments if the patient's condition is suitable for this procedure. Dr. Cocco has completed training for this technique from The Dry Needling Institute founded and directed by Dr. David Fishkin, who has been developing and applying this technique since 1998. The treatment can be used as a stand-alone method of treatment, but more commonly is utilized in association with chiropractic methods to achieve a more comprehensive degree of joint and muscular improvement.
Myofascial trigger point dry needling requires a physical examination, diagnosis, location of anatomical points based on western understanding of anatomy, neurology and physiology. It does not use theories of meridians, energy, pulse points or tongue characteristics to make a determination of why or where to place the needle. Acupuncture is a separate system of healing techniques. It is also notable that since trigger points have depth and breadth, multiple needles may be utilized to address one trigger point location, and this protocol is not typical of acupuncture technique either.