What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a specific treatment technique that uses a solid filament needle to treat muscle trigger points which are creating pain and discomfort. A muscle trigger point is a highly localized, hyper-irritable spot in a palpable, taut band of skeletal muscle fibers. These muscle trigger points, which are located throughout the human body, play a role in producing and sustaining feelings of pain and discomfort. Trigger points develop in muscle for various reasons including referred or local pain, inflammation, tissue injury or other causes. Studies from the United States have shown that trigger points were the primary source of pain in as many as 85% of pain-related appointments with a primary care doctor.
Dry Needling vs. Accupuncture
While Dry Needling uses the same tool as acupuncture—it is with a different theoretical purpose. Dry Needling is based on traditional, studied and tested practices of Western Medicine to restore normal muscle function. Traditional acupuncture practitioners follow Eastern Medicine’s key principle of holistic treatment, and is based on normalizing the energy imbalance, or Chi, in the body to cure syndromes.
What conditions can be treated with dry needling?
Examples of conditions that can be treated successfully with dry needling include:
- Back and neck pain, including postural problems and tension
- Arm pain (shoulder impingements, tennis or golfer’s elbow)
- Leg pain (including sciatic pain)
- Hamstring strains
- Knee pain
- Calf tightness or cramps
This treatment allows…
- Muscle contracture to release
- Improved circulation
- Reduced swelling
- Dispersement of chemical buildup
Is dry needling safe?
The treatment utilizes sterile, thin monofilament needles. The relief is often rapid with a reduction in pain and improved function.
Does Dry Needling hurt?
Typically, patients will feel some level of discomfort, but it is short-lived. The initial insertion of the needle does not usually cause any discomfort. The local twitch response can cause a brief painful reaction. It is important to remember that the therapeutic effect only occurs by eliciting the twitch response. Therefore, it is the desirable reaction. Most patients describe treatment as feeling uncomfortable, but not painful.
What can I do after treatment?
You may be advised to use heat or ice over the area to help alleviate post-treatment soreness, and temporarily modify your exercises or activities for 1 or 2 days afterwards.
How will I feel after having treatment?
There may be some soreness immediately after treatment in the area of the body that was Dry Needled. This is normal, although does not always occur. Occasionally, soreness develops a few hours later, or even the next day. The soreness may vary depending on the area of the body that was treated, and also varies person-to-person, but typically it feels like you have had an intense workout at the gym. Occasionally patients will experience some bruising with this soreness. This is a normal response that only lasts an hour or two after treatment.
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