Are you suffering from chronic pain that won’t seem to go away? Have you tried all the conventional treatments with little to no success? If so, you might want to consider dry needling.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling refers to a specific form of therapy that uses thin needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate myofascial trigger points in the muscles. Unlike acupuncture, which focuses on redirecting the body’s energy flows, dry needling focuses on the muscles. It is frequently used in combination with other forms of physical therapy to help alleviate pain and improve mobility.
How Does It Work?
Other names for dry needling are trigger point dry needling and intramuscular stimulation.
When needles are inserted into the muscle, they help release tension and increase blood flow to the affected area. This increased blood flow can help remove waste products that may be causing pain and can also deliver fresh nutrients to help the muscle heal.
Additionally, the needles can help “reset” a muscle that is dysfunctional, allowing it to work properly again.
Also, dry needling can help release tension in the fascia (the thin layer of connective tissue that provides support and holds organs, blood vessels, bones, nerve fibres, and muscles in place), which can contribute to chronic pain and muscular tension.
Dry needling is a therapeutic technique that is safe and effective and can help address a wide range of conditions. It is increasingly recognised as an important physical therapy and pain management tool.
Dry Needling Versus Acupuncture
When it comes to treating musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, two common techniques that often get confused are dry needling and acupuncture. While both involve inserting thin needles into the skin, their approach and theory differ. Acupuncture is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, which aims to balance energy flow or “qi” through the body’s meridian channels. On the other hand, dry needling focuses on addressing trigger points in muscle tissue to reduce pain and improve function.
Despite their differences, both techniques have shown promise in treating various conditions, and it’s important to consult with a trained practitioner to determine which approach is best for your needs.
Who Can Benefit From Dry Needling?
Dry needling can benefit individuals who suffer from a range of conditions and issues, such as:
- Chronic pain: Dry needling can help alleviate chronic pain caused by various ailments, including joint and disc issues. It can be particularly effective in treating tendinitis and repetitive motion disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Headaches: Migraine and tension headaches are common afflictions that can be treated with dry needling. It can help relieve muscle tension and improve blood flow to the affected area, reducing pain.
- Jaw and mouth issues: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can result in pain and discomfort in the jaw and mouth. Dry needling can help alleviate these symptoms by reducing muscle tension and improving the range of motion.
- Whiplash: Individuals who have sustained whiplash injuries may find dry needling an effective treatment option. It can help alleviate muscle stiffness and improve flexibility in the neck and shoulders.
- Pelvic Pain: Various conditions, including endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease, can cause pelvic pain. Dry needling can help alleviate pain and improve muscle tone in the affected area.
- Night cramps: Individuals who suffer from night cramps may find relief through dry needling. The treatment can help alleviate muscle tension and reduce the frequency and severity of night cramps.
- Phantom limb pain: Dry needling may also be effective in treating phantom limb pain, which is a common complication of amputations. The treatment can help alleviate pain and improve the range of motion in the affected limb.
- Postherpetic neuralgia: Dry needling can be used to treat postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of shingles that can result in chronic pain. The treatment can help reduce the severity of pain and improve the quality of life for individuals who suffer from this condition.
Benefits of Dry Needling
We’ll explore the benefits of dry needling treatment, how it can reduce muscle tightness, and the other potential health benefits besides relieving pain.
Long-lasting Relief Of Pain and Muscle Tightness
One of the primary benefits of dry needling is its ability to relieve pain. Targeting trigger points in the muscles can break up knotted tissue responsible for muscle tightness, which can be particularly helpful for those suffering chronic pains. Dry needling can also relieve headaches, lower back pain, shoulder and neck pain, tennis elbow, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Moreover, it can provide long-term relief for many patients. While this therapy is not a cure-all, it can provide long-lasting effects allowing patients to return to their daily activities.
Improved Range of Motion and Flexibility
Dry needling can also help improve range of motion and flexibility. By releasing tension from the muscles, dry needling allows for greater mobility and improved flexibility. That can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from joint pain or have a limited range of motion due to an injury or medical condition.
Promotes Healing And Injury Prevention
Dry needling can also promote healing and help prevent future injuries. The needles stimulate blood flow to the affected area, helping deliver fresh nutrients to aid recovery. Additionally, by releasing muscle tension, dry needling can help reduce the risk of further injury or aggravation of existing conditions.
Used as a Complementary Treatment
Dry needling is effective and can be used as a complementary treatment to other therapies. For example, dry needling can work alongside massage therapy and physiotherapy to improve overall outcomes. It can help ease and reduce muscle tightness so that further manipulation can be performed more comfortably.
Dry needling can also be used as a pre-workout treatment to help loosen muscles and reduce the risk of injury during exercise.
Safe With Minimal Side-effects
Many people worry that dry needling is painful and may have negative side effects, but the truth is it is a safe, relatively simple procedure. If performed correctly by a qualified practitioner, dry needling does not produce any negative side effects on its own. Some people may experience mild bruising or soreness at the site of the procedure, but this subsides quickly, and mild side effects usually resolve in less than 72 hours. This technique is minimally invasive compared to other medical procedures.
Should I Do Anything Before Or After My Session To Ensure I Get The Best Results?
For optimal results from your treatments, there are a few steps you can take before and after your session.
Firstly, before your session, it’s recommended that you hydrate by drinking plenty of water. That helps to flush out toxins in your body and ensures your cells are fully hydrated, which can enhance the effectiveness of your treatment.
Also, consider wearing loose, comfortable clothing to your session for maximum ease and relaxation.
After your session, it’s recommended that you avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals for a few hours to allow your body to absorb the treatment fully.
Rest and relaxation are also key, so make sure you give yourself time to unwind and allow your body to fully benefit from the treatment.
After The Dry Needling Session
Should you feel lightheaded after your appointment, our team will ensure that you take a moment to rest and relax. Upon leaving the office, drink lots of water for optimal hydration. Muscle soreness is normal following treatment; however, staying mobile is essential – this feeling may extend up to 72 hours post-treatment. Additionally, slight bruising near the treated area might be visible in the week ahead – no need for alarm!
How Often Should I Receive A Dry Needling Treatment For Maximum Benefits?
The frequency of treatments depends on various factors, like the patient’s condition, medical history, and response to therapy.
Typically, patients usually need multiple sessions to experience optimal results. Your therapist will assess your condition at the initial consultation and create a personalised treatment plan. Moreover, they will consider your recovery rate, the severity of your symptoms, and your goals to determine the frequency of your visits.
In general, most patients get the most benefit from receiving dry needling treatments every two to four weeks. While this might vary depending on the individual’s needs, rest assured that regular visits with a trained practitioner can help improve your overall quality of life.
How Does Dry Needling Compare To Other Physical Therapy Treatments, Such As Massage?
Dry needling and massage are both types of physical therapy treatments that aim to relieve pain and improve overall mobility. However, there are some key differences between these two techniques. Massage typically focuses on manipulating soft tissue and increasing circulation to improve muscle function.
While both approaches can effectively treat various conditions, dry needling is often more targeted and precise. Massage can be useful for general pain relief, but dry needling may be particularly useful for patients with stubborn muscle knots or chronic pain.
Ultimately, the best treatment option will depend on the individual’s unique needs and medical history. It is important to consult a qualified physical therapist to determine the most appropriate action.
Can I do Dry Needling at Home, or Do I Need to Visit a Professional Therapist?
Dry needling is a relatively safe and effective treatment, but it’s important to note that only qualified practitioners should be performing the procedure. The needles used are very thin, so even a slight misapplication can cause serious harm or injury. Therefore, it is not recommended to perform dry needling at home without the supervision of a trained professional.
Also, even if you were to use the needles correctly, you may not be targeting the underlying cause of your pain and discomfort. In other words, it is important to consult with qualified physical therapists who can assess your condition and determine the best course of treatment for optimal results.
In conclusion, dry needling is a promising technique that can offer benefits for managing various musculoskeletal disorders. The treatment is both safe and minimally invasive, gaining popularity over the years.
Research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of dry needling in reducing pain, improving range of motion, and enhancing physical function. Moreover, it can be used in conjunction with other therapies to provide a more comprehensive approach to treatment. However, it is important to note that a licenced and experienced practitioner should only perform this technique.
If you are looking for effective dry needling, look no further than Wayne Massage – trusted by countless satisfied customers for our expert techniques and personalised approach. Book today and experience the relief you deserve! Call us at:
Treatments & Procedures | Cleveland Clinic
Dry needling to treat muscle pain – Mayo Clinic Health System
Dry needling: a literature review with implications for clinical practice guidelines – PMC
Dry Needling vs Acupuncture: Benefits and Risks