Dry needling is a special technique that uses thin, solid needles which are inserted into tight muscles to relieve tension, decrease pain, and restore natural movement in the body. This clinical technique has been used by Physical Therapists for decades and has gotten increasingly popular due to its effectiveness when combined with the full scope of a Physical Therapist’s skill set in reducing pain and improving functional mobility.
Here are some common questions about Dry Needling.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dry Needling and Physical Therapy:
Question: Why is Dry Needling effective in treating pain?
Answer: Dry needling helps decrease pain by decreasing muscle tension. When a dry needle is inserted into the area of tightness, the muscle will twitch and then relax back to it’s normal resting state. We then stimulate the needle and muscle with electricity which further helps to relax the muscle back to baseline.
Question: Why use Dry Needling when massage, manual therapy, and stretching can also target painful, nagging trouble areas?
Answer: Dry needling can actually effect areas deep within the body that we can’t get to with our hands. If you feel there is a tight area that doesn’t go away no matter how much you stretch or massage it, then dry needling can be just what you need to make it go away as it can reach those deeper layers of tissue for relief.
Question: Is Dry Needling like Acupuncture?
Answer: No. While it may look similar in a picture or video clip, the implementation, medical model, rationale of use, and outcomes for patient goals are quite different.
Question: Does it hurt? Could I get injured?
Answer: Sometimes there are side effects such as bruising, superficial bleeding (such as from a flu shot), or temporary soreness. However, the technique is quite safe and precisely affects specific areas of orthopedic concern.
Question: How can Dry Needling benefit my recovery process?
Answer: Dry Needling can help improve blood flow, decrease pain, it releases neurotransmitters to help the brain and nervous system more accurately process the body’s healing process, it relaxes tight muscles, and has been known to be quite effective with chronic pain. While it is not an end-all-be-all, it can be a powerful technique as part of a comprehensive plan of care.