What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a modality that involves the use of a small monofilament needle to stimulate microcirculation at specific points in the body. The points or targets of the needling are areas of high-density superficial nerve fibers. This differs from traditional Chinese Acupuncture in that acupuncture is eastern medicine based on meridians and energy, whereas dry needling is based on western medicine principles and neurology.
How does this help with migraines and dizziness?
Neurogenic inflammation of the cervical (neck) and trigeminal (face, sinus, head) nerves can trigger migraines and cause dizziness. The Trigeminal Cervical Complex is the relationship between the greater occipital nerves, upper cervical nerves, trigeminal nerves, and the central nervous system. The vestibular system has an intimate relationship with the cervical nervous system and trigeminal nerves. Needling in these areas can help alleviate migraine symptoms. The insertion of the needle around these nerves creates localized microcirculation restoring homeostasis and reducing neurogenic inflammation.
Not only can dry needling help with reducing migraine and dizziness, but it can also increase the threshold before symptoms start. Additionally, dry needling is beneficial as an adjunct modality in treatment sessions to improve a person’s threshold to tolerate vestibular rehabilitation therapy.
Often patients with dizziness have neck pain and tightness which can further contribute to cervicogenic dizziness. Dry needling to the muscles of the cervical spine and suboccipital musculatures can help reduce muscle tension, improve mobility, and subsequently improve dizziness.
Dry needling can also be used with electrical stimulation. One method is targeting musculature around the upper cervical spine and utilizing electrical stimulation to illicit muscle twitching to help pump blood flow into the area. Another method is targeting the nerves in the TCC and utilizing the electrical stimulation at a different frequency similar to a TENS unit for pain modulation.
Will it hurt?
Dry needling is not designed to be painful, and the needles are very thin. You may feel a pinch upon placement of the needle and sometimes aching may also be present. The aching is the nerve responding to the treatment. Most people feel immediately better! Check out our instagram post on dry needling @neurobalancept