What is Dry Needling Good For?
Dry needling is a relatively recent, noninvasive treatment to relieve pain. It differs from acupuncture, another form of needle therapy.
Dry needling is a technique used to relieve pain by pinpointing trigger points – or muscles that are irritable and sore – on the body. It’s often performed by physical therapists.
Dry needling is an effective pain treatment that can benefit patients suffering from musculoskeletal pain. It has been used to alleviate conditions such as headaches, shoulder and neck discomfort, back and hip discomfort, arthritis, fibromyalgia and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders.
This procedure uses a thin needle to pierce the skin and muscle tissue in order to address adhesions, trigger points and connective tissue. This helps alleviate pain while expediting recovery time.
Your body’s natural healing response to the insertion of a needle involves stimulating nerve communication, increasing blood flow and decreasing inflammation. Additionally, it improves your body’s capacity for releasing endorphins – natural pain relievers.
Though evidence is of moderate quality, it remains uncertain whether dry needling has long-lasting effects on musculoskeletal pain. Only two studies with 6- to 12-month follow-up periods met our inclusion criteria; however, results indicate a small effect (8 SD = -0.26; 95% CI: -0.58, 0.06) favoring dry needling over control or sham needling when looking at functional outcomes over the same time period.
Dry needling is an effective tool for pinpointing knotted muscles and trigger points that are causing you discomfort. In addition, the needles stimulate the release of anti-inflammatory endorphins, which help alleviate pain and increase sensitivity in the treated tissue.
Physical therapists frequently combine dry needling with other forms of physical therapy, such as joint mobilizations (when your therapist moves joints in specific directions), massage and stretching to build strength and flexibility. This combination can expedite recovery time for people who lead an active lifestyle more quickly than other therapies do, particularly those seeking quick return to normal movement after injury.
Functional dry needling is a unique type of dry needling that goes beyond trigger point pain reduction to address the underlying cause of an issue. It effectively treats muscular tightness and spasms caused by injury, chronic pain conditions and degenerative processes.
Muscles that become tight or knotted can create restrictions in motion that can stop you from doing the things you enjoy most. Dry needling helps remove these restrictions so your body works with less resistance, leading to improved athletic performance.
Your physical therapist will identify the trigger point causing you pain during a session. They may move the needle around to get a local twitch response – an abrupt spasm of muscle that helps indicate that the area is responding to treatment.
Trigger points are knotted muscle areas that tend to be sore when touched. These knots can create what is known as “referred pain”, which refers pain through unexpected pathways elsewhere in the body.
Speeds up recovery
Dry needling helps expedite recovery by restoring function and relieving pain in muscles and nerves, enabling the body to heal itself more quickly after injuries or surgeries.
Physical therapy is often the initial treatment for most injuries, but adding dry needling to your rehabilitation process can speed up healing and make it more likely that you’ll be able to return to your regular activities quickly.
At your dry needling session, you will lie flat on a table or bed while your physical therapist inserts very fine needles into specific trigger points in your muscles. This causes stimulation to the underlying tissue and alters signals between your brain and muscle, allowing them to relax.
Dry needling treatment may cause mild soreness in the targeted area that may last a few hours or days. Nevertheless, this is an expected reaction and should subside quickly.
If you’re interested in trying dry needling as part of your physical therapy treatment, contact the expert team at Moore Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment.