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Dry needling is a safe and invasive technique whose physical agent is the mechanical action of a needle, which is moved up and down a few millimetres. Its use is recommended when treating trigger points, which are small nodules (voluminous, tense, sensitive and hyperirritable) found within a tense band of muscle. What are the benefits of dry needling?
Trigger points are painful on compression, can cause pain referred to another body area, motor dysfunction of the structures and functional impotence. They are caused by lifestyle overloads, daily routine, sports trauma, emotional stress, illnesses, etc.
Basically, the aim of dry needling is to find the existing trigger points within the affected muscle by palpation. It is also advisable to carry out a thermography test, as the results of this test indicate the areas where there is greater inflammation of the affected structures, these inflamed tissues may have trigger points in the muscles. At Madrid Health we have technological equipment that performs thermography tests, helping to locate the areas of inflammation.
Once the trigger points have been located, a very fine metal needle (specifically for dry needling or acupuncture) is inserted until it reaches the area of the tense muscle band. When the trigger point is reached, the muscle produces the so-called local spasm response, an involuntary muscle contraction that is repeated each time the needle reaches the trigger point.
This involuntary response decreases as the needle moves in and out of the trigger point. The process usually lasts a few seconds and can be a little uncomfortable, although it depends on the patient's perception. After a dry needling session, it is possible to feel stiffness for the first 24-48 hours, so it is advisable to use cold on the area and perform specific therapeutic exercises.
At Madrid Health we have an innovative computer programme called Physitrack, in which there are thousands of therapeutic exercises described. Depending on the patient, their injury and evolution, the Madrid Health team will specifically select some exercises for the patient to do at home to complement the treatment.
Dry needling is a technique that works brilliantly, however it is vitally important that the patient performs the exercises in the Physitrack programme, as no technique achieves good results if it is not accompanied by therapeutic exercise.