The practice of dry needling is gaining momentum in physical therapy care, thanks to its effectiveness in pain relief. It can improve range of motion, help treat injuries, and improve flexibility.
Dry needling is the use of solid, thin needles to stimulate muscles, relieve muscular pain, and improve movement. It treats muscle tissue and is considered safe, except for a few possible side effects.
If the concept of dry needling is new to you, let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about.
What Is Dry Needling?
Before we get into facts about dry needling, let’s talk about what it isn’t. It isn’t the same as acupuncture. Both use filament needles, and that’s where the similarities end. Acupuncture is the practice of using energy points to heal the body naturally. It has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine.
Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine and is supported by research. Only skilled and trained physical therapists certified in the procedure can perform it. We have therapists on staff who are certified in this form of treatment.
The needles used are very thin and thread-like. Because the needles are so thin, they are typically not painful when initially inserted.
When you hear the word “needle,” you might think of a bigger gauge needle, like the ones used when you receive an injection. There’s no fluid injected through the needle. The absence of liquid is why it’s called “dry” needling.
Needles stay in the skin anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds.
Dry needling is rarely a standalone procedure. It’s often part of a broader physical therapy approach to incorporate other traditional physical therapy procedures.
How Can Dry Needling Help?
We provide dry needling to address myofascial pain and dysfunction. Myofascial pain is just another way to describe muscle pain. It’s pain or inflammation in the connective tissues that cover your muscles, or fascia.
Your muscles may twitch when we insert the needle. The response is simply a spinal cord reflex. A twitch reflects a release of the painful, taut region of the muscle. This release helps to restore normal muscle length and tension.
If you suffer from chronic pain, dry needling can be quite effective. It’s beneficial for many types of pain, including back pain, tendonitis, arthritis, and sciatica. It is also deemed effective in individuals with sensitized pain, meaning the pain radiates to multiple locations in the body. It does this by resetting the nervous system.
After a Dry Needling Session
Even though dry needling is relatively painless and very safe, there can be some minor side effects. Temporary soreness and slight bruising can occur. It’s also common to feel tired after a treatment. These feelings can last up to an hour or two but then disperse.
Increase your water intake for the next 24 hours to help avoid soreness. Stretching or a heating pad can also help.
Dry needling isn’t for everyone. A few groups of people should consider an alternate treatment for myofascial pain. People who have a fear of needles, pregnant women, and those with skin conditions or compromised immune systems shouldn’t receive dry needling. There are other contraindications that your therapist will review with you before treatment.
We are a concierge practice that brings private physical therapy treatment to you. Your home is a perfect place to receive dry needling because you are in a comfortable and familiar place. We recommend maintaining an active day after a dry needling treatment.
If you want to try dry needling to relieve pain, contact us for an appointment or consultation. Many physical therapy techniques can ease chronic pain and restore quality of life, including dry needling. Our goal is to provide quality, patient-centered healthcare in a convenient setting.