Unprecedented Benefits from Dry Needling

By Carol Cote, PT, CCTT, CODN, CMTPT

Dry Needling provides unprecedented benefits when addressing soft-tissue pain and dysfunction. It is the right tool for the problem. It is the right treatment strategy for the diagnosis: myofascial dysfunction (painful muscles that are uncoordinated in the involuntary system that holds your body against gravity). According to “Dry Needling for Management of Pain in the Upper Quarter and Craniofacial Region” in Current Pain and Headache Reports, June 10, 2014:

Dry needling is a therapeutic intervention that has growing popularity. It is primarily used with patients that have pain of myofascial origin.”

Abstract Conclusion:
In order to effective manage patients with the complex problem of craniofacial pain, it is imperative to perform a careful examination, including assessment of upper quarter Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrP), and utilize a comprehensive treatment paradigm {58,59,102}. The increasing popularity of dry needling as a therapeutic intervention should be viewed in light of evidence of it its effectiveness. Although additional research is needed before more definitive conclusions can be made, the evidence to date suggests that dry needling is effective, especially in the short term, for reducing pain in patients with upper quarter myofascial pain. Findings from a small number of individual studies also suggest that dry needling may be beneficial for patients with craniofacial pain associated with headache or TMJ involvement. Clearly, more rigorously designed randomized controlled trials are needed before definitive conclusions can be made about the effectiveness of dry needling for the craniofacial area as well as other regions of the body. A small but growing body of literature has suggested that dry needing leads to favorable outcomes for a number of lower body conditions.

The addition of dry needling to the therapeutic process, when performed by trained practitioners, requires minimal low cost equipment and can be administered in relatively short periods of time, thus, making it an economically efficient means of reducing pain in patients with neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Clinicians interested in dry needling should continue to remain appraised of new studies regarding effectiveness for dry needling and optimal technique and dosing.

58. Mannheimer J. prevention and restoration of abnormal upper quarter posture. In: Geib H. Belb M, editors. Postural considerations in the diagnosis and treatment of cranio-cervical-mandibular and related chronic pain disorders. St. Louis: Mosby, 1994
59. Mannheimer J., Dunn J. the cervical spine: its evaluation and relation to temporomandibular disorders. In: Kaplan A, editor. Textbook of craniomandibular disorders. Philadelphia: Saunders; 1991.
102. Issa T, Huijbregts P. Physical therapy diagnosis and management of a patient with chronic daily headache: a case report. J. Manual Manip Ther. 2006;14(4):E88-123

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