Dry Needling is a skilled intervention that uses thin sterile needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments (American Physical Therapy Association, 2012).
More simply, dry needling uses incredibly thin needles to stimulate trigger points which results in reduced pain and muscle tension, improved function and movement, and decreased recovery time from training and/or injury.
A recent study looked at elite international female volleyball players during their competitive season and specifically measured the range of movement, strength and pain of their shoulders. They then underwent regular dry needling of the scapulohumeral (shoulder) muscles. Results indicated both short term pain relief and improved shoulder function demonstrating that dry needling can successfully treat athletes with myofascial pain and impingement symptoms mid-season by maintaining rotator cuff balance and strength and by reducing pain and further injury.
Dry needling can successfully be used in conjunction with hands-on manual therapy and a well-designed exercise program to facilitate recovery, as well improve soft-tissue quality and reduce muscle soreness.
Unverzagt, C.m Berglund, K., Thomas, J. (2015). Dry Needling for Myofascial Trigger Point Pain: A Clinical Commentary. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy; 10(3): 402-418.
Zylstra E., Kinetacore Functional Dry Needling: Level 1, Applications for Management of Movement Impairments, Pain and Sports Injuries. Pg 9&12.