Before I get into what dry needling feels like and whether or not it helped my injury, I'll explain what it is. Dry needling is a safe treatment provided by a trained professional that uses a thin filiform needle (acupuncture needle) to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscles, and connective tissues, explained physical therapist Erin Adams, DPT, CMTPT (certified myofascial trigger point therapist), from Fit2Perform, who's been performing dry needling for four years. The purpose of dry needling is to help manage pain and improve movement impairments such as muscle tightness.
Anyone can benefit from dry needling, Erin said. "Certain ailments that are most commonly treated with dry needling include muscular tension or stiffness, muscular or joint pain, muscular injury (strain, sprain, or tear), restricted joint range of motion, muscle cramps, pelvic pain, migraines and tension-type headaches, jaw problems, as well as spinal and disc problems."
I should mention that dry needling is different than acupuncture. Although the same types of needles are used for both, Erin explained, "Dry needling doesn't follow a map of predetermined points. Dry needling is directed to the specific soft tissue structure being treated and does not aim to affect energy or organ systems as acupuncture does." She added that dry needling tends to have a much deeper application than acupuncture.