Dry Needling

Dry needling (DN) is a form of physical therapy that can be used to help treat an array of musculoskeletal disorders and reduce pain. It works by stimulating the peripheral nervous system, helping to release tight muscles, as well as promoting healing of muscle tissue and fascia. The technique additionally has the ability to decrease chronic pain by reducing or blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. Furthermore, it can improve body movement and functioning, thereby allowing people to participate in activities with more ease. In summary, dry needling helps restore balance in the body’s tissue by releasing tight muscles and diminishing nociceptive input.

dry needling

What Is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a form of alternative therapy which is used to reduce pain and improve muscle movement. By inserting a thin, solid filament needle without medication into trigger points in the muscle, the process can help to deactivate them and bring about improvements.

This technique, also known as intramuscular manual therapy or trigger point dry needling, has been found to be helpful in treating various types of muscular pain and tension, such as those associated with sports injuries or chronic conditions. It works by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms and can provide both immediate relief as well as long-term benefits. Additionally, it can be used in conjunction with other therapies such as massage for even greater effectiveness.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

As stated by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), “Dry needling is a skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.”

(DN) involves inserting thin needles into the body. These needles are inserted directly into myofascial trigger points, which are areas of tightness in the fascia. The insertion of the needle has an effect on your central nervous system and can help reduce muscle tension and spasms, improve circulation to the area, and stimulate healing. It is a safe and effective form of treatment for musculoskeletal pain.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Trigger Point?
A dry needle Trigger Point is a precise treatment technique in which a thin, solid filament needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. This therapy helps to stimulate localized circulation, improve range of motion, reduce pain, and break up painful knots of tight tissue. The procedure can also help to release endorphins in the body that act as natural painkillers.
How Can Dry Needling Help Me?

Dry needling can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal issues and increase blood flow, including: neck, back and shoulder pain; arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow); headaches (migraines and tension-type); jaw and dental pain; buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness/spasms).

Is Dry Needling Similar To Acupuncture?
Although they use the same thin filament needles, acupuncture and dry needling are two very different treatments. In contrast to most schools of acupuncture, dry needling is strictly based on Western medicine principles and research. Acupuncture is used to treat Traditional Chinese Medical diagnoses of visceral and systemic dysfunction, while dry needling is used to assess and treat myofascial pain. Dry needling relieves pain by inactivating trigger points within muscles.
Is Dry Needling Painful?
Dry needling can cause a dull ache or slight discomfort during the treatment, but shouldn’t be painful. If you experience pain during dry needling, your healthcare professional should adjust their technique as needed to make sure you remain comfortable. Ultimately, dry needling is meant to provide you with relief from your chronic pain and discomfort.
How Long Does it Usually Take to Notice Results?

Typically, patients notice a positive reaction within a few visits

How Does Dry Needling Fit Into The Overall Physical Therapy Treatment Plan?
Dry needling therapy has been found to be most effective when used in combination with other physical therapy techniques. This is often because dry needling helps to break the pain cycle, allowing for more intensive treatments to be used further on in the treatment plan. Additionally, due to the nature of dry needling acting quickly and deeply on trigger points, it can provide relief from pain, spasms and stiffness faster than many other forms of physical therapy alone. As such, dry needling is a powerful tool in helping individuals overcome their pain and restore mobility.
Benefits of Dry Needling?
The main benefits of dry needling are improved range of motion and reduced pain. Dry needling is used to target trigger points in muscles and can be effective for pain relief by increasing blood flow, releasing tight knots in the muscle, breaking down scar tissue, restoring joint mobility, improving posture, and relieving nerve related symptoms. It also helps to reduce inflammation and encourages the healing process naturally. Additionally, it can help improve flexibility by encouraging muscles to relax. Lastly, it can help promote relaxation which leads to a better overall sense of wellbeing.

What to Expect From Your Visit

When visiting a dry needling practitioner, you can expect to receive treatments involving the insertion of fine acupuncture needles into your body. The needles are used to address trigger points and muscle tension. Your provider may also use cupping or electrical stimulation techniques in addition to the needling before releasing the treatment area.

During your visit, your provider will assess the areas of concern, explain what dry needling is and why it’s being used, answer any questions you have and then insert the needles in strategic locations based on that assessment. After a few minutes with some minor discomfort at times, additional relaxation therapies such as massage may be applied during or after the session for further relief from pain. You should plan on spending up to an hour for each appointment but length of time varies depending on individual needs.

You should discuss any questions and expectations with your provider before committing to treatment. Dry needling is a safe, non-invasive technique when performed by a trained practitioner and can help improve mobility, reduce pain, and relieve muscle tension. With regular treatments, you can expect to address the root cause of your discomfort and experience long-term relief from chronic issues or acute conditions.