Dry needling refers to the use of solid needles inserted into specific regions of the body, that produce physiologcal effects at the level of muscles which result in decreased pain and stiffness.
The term dry needling refers to the use of solid, non-injector needles in a similar manner to acupuncture. Dry needles are different from wet needles, which use a hypodermic proboscis and are used in the injection of saline, local anaesthetic or corticosteroid. The important thing to remember is this: dry needling uses solid needles, not injection needles.
Dry needling is applied to trigger points, which are specific areas in muscle that have become tight due to excess activity or injury. The insertion of a dry needle into this trigger point is believed to increase blood flow to the trigger point, resulting in the relaxation of tight muscle fibers thanks to the addition of fresh oxygen and nutrients, which results in pain relief.
Dry-needling is not an end-all treatment, and its use will depend on the nature of your problem and its context. Dry-needling treatment will not be applied in isolation, and will be combined with prescribed exercise, stretching, and other physical modalities to best address the source of your discomfort.
Not every patient will be appropriate for dry needling. Dry-needling in the clinic will be used depending on the discretion of your treating clinician as well as the nature, history, and context of your presenting discomfort. Feel free to discuss this treatment with your clinician, either in appointment or during your initial consultation.