Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use to treat myofascial pain. The technique uses a thin, sterile, disposable filiform needle, without medication, inserted through the skin into areas, known as trigger points. It is typically just one technique that’s part of a larger treatment plan.
A trigger point is a taut band of fascia and/or muscle. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body. Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. This can help speed up the patient's physical therapy rehabilitation.
Many patients do not feel the insertion of the needle. A local twitch response in the trigger point occurs which elicits a brief painful response. Some patients describe this as a little electrical shock; others perceive it more like a cramp.
Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists.
Physical therapists who perform dry needling obtain specific and advanced education and training.
Below is a you tube video of dry needling to a muscle that may be involved with pelvic pain.