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Dry needling, also known as "trigger point dry needling", Dry needling is sometimes referred to as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), It involves the use of either solid filiform needles, or hollow-core hypodermic needles for therapy of muscle pain, including pain related to myofascial pain syndrome. Dry needling is mainly used to treat myofascial trigger points, but it is also used to target connective tissue, neural ailments, and muscular ailments.

Dry needling can be divided into categories in terms of depth of penetration: deep and superficial dry needling.Deep dry needling will inactivate myofascial triggers points by provoking a local twitch response (LTR), which is an involuntary spinal cord reflex in which the muscle fibers in the taut band of muscle contract. The LTR indicates the proper placement of the needle in a trigger point. Dry needling that elicits LTRs improves treatment outcomes and may work by activating endogenous opioids.[5] The activation of the endogenous opioids is for an analgesic effect using the Gate Control Theory of Pain In addition to relieving myofascial trigger points, deep dry needling is also identified to decreases pain, increase range of motion, and minimize myofascial trigger point irritability. In regards to the factor of pain reduction, relief occurs at four central levels: local pain, spinal pain through nerves, brain stem pain, and higher brain center pain.