What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a manual pain management technique where sterile acupuncture needles are inserted directly into myofascial (muscular) trigger points to relieve pain. Trigger points are composed of tightly contracted knots within the muscle that cause pain within the body. Trigger points are located by palpating the muscle, then needles are inserted into the center of each trigger point. Research studies have shown that inserting such needles into trigger points causes biochemical changes within the body, which relax the contracted muscle and help reduce pain.
Who can benefit from Dry Needling?
Trigger points occur in dogs with either acute or chronic muscle overload. Dogs with orthopedic or neurologic injuries that change their posture, as well as canine athletes training for competition, can develop muscle pain that is relieved by dry needling.
How often should it be done?
Frequency of treatment depends on the condition being treated and how long the condition has been present. Typically there is a noticeable improvement by the second treatment, and two treatments may be enough for some patients. Others, with more chronic conditions, will benefit from continued weekly treatments. As the condition improves, the frequency of treatment can be decreased.
Are there any side effects?
There is often some muscle soreness, and occasionally bruising at the needle insertion site. The soreness is mild, and usually resolves within 24 hours. Canine athletes should not undergo dry needling immediately before competition.