What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is an acupuncture technique used to release and lengthen muscle fascia and relieve pain.
It is also known as trigger point needling, orthopedic acupuncture, ashi needling, etc, and is an integral part of the practice of acupuncture.
Here's an example of needling based on myofascial pain referral patterns from 1624:
"When I pressed a point slightly below the rib the patient stated that pain radiated to the chest and abdomen. I carefully felt for the point, and it indeed was exactly at Zhangmen (LV-13)."
--The Complete Works of Zhang Jingyue, 1624
One of the key characteristics of a myofascial trigger point (MTrP) is that it radiates pain to another area, as in the above example from 400 years ago. In that classic example, a patient came in complaining of pain in the abdomen and chest, and the practitioner found that pressing a tender point on the side of the ribs elicited the same pain.
He further identified this point as 章门 (zhangmen, LV-13, at the abdominal oblique muscle attachments), and the text goes on to describe the case's successful resolution.
In a common example from my practice, if a patient comes in with a headache behind one eye and in the temple, I will start by palpating the side of the neck and upper shoulder. If I can identify a tender area in the trapezius muscle (GB 21) that elicits the same pain when pressed, then we have found the source of the headache!
Make an appointment now with Henry Buchtel, Licensed Acupuncturist in Ann Arbor, Michigan!