Dry Needling is a technique performed by certified physical therapists for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.
Dry Needling helps in releasing or inactivating Myofascial Trigger Point (MTrP) in order to relieve pain or improve range of motion. A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. It can be tender to the touch, and pressing on a trigger point may cause referred pain to other parts of the body.
Dry Needling is not acupuncture (a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine).
The technique uses a sterile ‘dry’ needle, with no associated medication, that is inserted through the skin into areas of the muscles. The thin filiform needle penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The use of a thin dedicated needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable, optimizing treatment.
Physical therapists wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment when performing Dry Needling, consistent with the standard precautions.
Dry Needling is usually incorporated as part of an overall treatment plan, so it’s typically a technique that's included in a larger plan.
Physical therapists use dry needling with the goal of speeding up the patient's return to active rehabilitation.
As part of their entry level education, physical therapists are well educated in anatomy and therapeutic treatment of the body, but physical therapists who perform dry needling supplement that knowledge by obtaining a specific certification through a decicated training pathway.
Dry Needling is within the physical therapists’ scope of practice in Switzerland.