If you’re going through physical therapy, at some point you may be asked if you want to try “dry needling.” You may be wondering what this is, if it will hurt, and whether it will do any good. Today, we’ll explain the in’s and out’s of this practice so you can decide if it is right for your treatment plan.
- Needles, Really? Dry needling is also known as intramuscular stimulation, and is related to acupuncture only in that it uses a small needle. Dry needling is based in western medical theory and practice. The needles used are filament needles, which are very small. Some patients do not feel the needles being applied at all, and it is rare to have significant discomfort.
- What Conditions can Dry Needling Help? Dry needling is not an independent treatment and, therefore, should always be used in conjunction with other modalities. Many patients with the following issues have found significant relief from dry needling: neck, back, or shoulder pain, joint conditions such as golfer’s elbow, headaches, hip and gluteal pain, knee pain, sciatica, muscular strains, ligament sprains, and other types of chronic pain. It is also helpful in relieving the discomfort associated with physical therapy treatments.
- Is it Dangerous? No, provided a trained professional administers the dry needling it is not dangerous and has very few side effects. The most commonly reported side effect is some soreness, which lasts for a few hours up to two days.
- How Will it Help Me? When you are injured, your body produces inflammation, and the area goes into a tension state to protect itself from further damage. This contracture inhibits circulation that is necessary for healing to occur. When the needle is applied to the damaged area, it begins to break the contracture and pain cycle. The body also sees the needle as a foreign invader and will activate the immune system, aiding healing.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to try dry needling is completely up to you. Some patients simply cannot abide the idea of needles. However, many patients, dubious at first, find that dry needling was extremely helpful in their healing and rehabilitation process. To find out if dry needling might be a good option for you, request an appointment with us today.