Treatment of Tinnitus with Dry Needling

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRY NEEDLING AND ACUPUNCTURE?

While dry needling employs acupuncture needles, it is completely different in its approach from acupuncture in that the needle is used to directly treat muscles, and is solely based on traditional western anatomy. Another important difference between the two methods is that while acupuncturists use numerous needles at one time, dry needling only uses one needle at a time. 

what is DRY NEEDLING?

Dry needling is a form of treatment developed decades ago by Dr. Janice Travell, and is a method used the world over by doctors and manual therapists to treat many different conditions that originate as myofascial (muscular) dysfunction. These conditions include but are not limited to headaches, sports and orthopedic injuries, chronic spasm and neck/back pain. In recent years dry needling has also been shown to be effective in treating some cases of tinnitus.

how does dry needling work? 

Dry needling uses acupuncture needles to stimulate specific spots known as trigger points that are located within muscles. The reason that this technique of needling is considered "dry" is that it does not involve the injection of substances into the body, instead using only the mechanical effects of the needle to treat trigger points. 

Above is an example of a trigger point contained within the Sternocleidomastoid muscle. Active trigger points within this muscle are known to be associated with tinnitus. 

WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINTS?

Trigger Points, commonly referred to as "knots" in the muscles of the body, are essentially sections of muscle fibers that have been overly stressed to the point where they cannot relax by themselves. Most people find that they have trigger points in their neck, upper back, lower back, and sometimes the legs and arms. When trigger points become  "active" they can cause a host of painful conditions for a person such as headaches, referred pain to the extremities, and have recently been discovered in some cases to cause tinnitus. Stimulation of the trigger points by acupuncture needles (dry needling) causes them to "deactivate", relieving their effects on the body -  e.g. tinnitus.