WHAT IS DRY NEEDLING TREATMENT?
Dry needling is a drug-free treatment that has become increasingly popular because it addresses the root cause of pain without using prescription drugs. The practitioner uses a thin monofilament needle to penetrate the skin and treat underlying muscular trigger points, muscle tension, injuries, and pain. This process has been proven to relieve and improve neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments in many patients.
Dry needling treatment dates back to a study conducted in the 1970s that tested injecting medication into trigger points to treat pain. The physician was shocked to find out that the control group that didn’t receive any sort of medication (just the dry needle), saw significant improvement. After a series of additional tests, dry needling was developed using acupuncture needles to stimulate the tissue in and around a trigger point and now is rapidly growing in popularity due to its effectiveness in relieving pain and healing injuries.
When muscles are overused or tense, they can develop trigger points. A trigger point holds a lot of tension and it can disrupt function, restrict mobility or range of motion, and cause intense pain and tenderness. Aside from the pain caused by the tension, trigger points also disrupt the blood supply to the muscle. This means the muscle is not receiving the nutrients and oxygen it needs to return to a normal state.
We can stimulate a trigger point by inserting small monofilament needles into it and allowing them to sit in the trigger point for 10-15 minutes. This stimulation results in a rush of blood returning to the area and relieving the tension. While the needles don’t hurt, the sensation of having them in your skin can be enough to release endorphins which provide pain relief.
Our patients often compare the effectiveness of dry needling to multiple deep tissue massages, but in a fraction of the time. During a dry needling session, a patient may feel a twitch in the muscle or pressure as it releases tension but they don’t feel pain from the needles. Some patients don’t even feel the needles enter their skin and just feel a mild ache, twitch, or a feeling of pressure during the treatment.
It’s amazing the results patients can get from a short trigger point dry needling session. We determine how long the needles need to be left in the muscle by the type of pain a patient is experiencing. For pain that isn’t deep in a muscle, needles may only be left for a few seconds. For more intense, deep muscle pain, we usually leave the needles for 10-15 minutes.
In some cases, patients feel relief during and immediately after dry needling while others feel relief within the 24 hours following their dry needling session. It may take a few sessions to experience sustained pain relief and get the muscle back into its normal resting state, but these sessions are short and painless.
While dry needling may sound like acupuncture, the two practices are actually very different. Acupuncture focuses on placing dry needles on energy or meridian lines while dry needling has a musculoskeletal approach focused on placing needles in muscles that are tight or in pain to relieve pain and tension. This approach is very different to acupuncture, which is an Asian complete system of healing focusing on meridians, energy, and chi.
We use dry needling treatment for a wide range of ailments and our patients love that it gives them quick relief from their pain. Some of those ailments include:
- Disc problems like a herniated disk or pinched nerve
- Migraine and tension headaches
- Repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
- Spinal problems
- Knee pain
- Shoulder pain
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Hip pain
- Sports injuries
- Fibromyalgia pain
Dry needling treatment is a very powerful tool that we typically use in conjunction with other treatments such as adjustments. By combining these different treatments, we can help our patients feel better faster.
Are you ready to finally get some relief from your pain and see if dry needling is right for you? Call 512 556 8223 to schedule your consultation so we can create the right treatment plan for you and help you feel better faster.