Dry needling uses extremely thin needles inserted at affected areas of the body in hopes of relieving muscle pain and improving range of movement. It is not a new treatment method; tens of thousands of patients have benefitted from dry needling.
It is called “dry” needling because there is no medicine delivered with the needle – it simply pierces the skin to target specific tissue underneath. Unlike acupuncture, which seeks to align energy flow (“chi”) in the body, dry needling is based on science with precise treatment goals.
Dry needling has proven beneficial in treating many medical conditions, including:
- Back or neck pain
- Tennis elbow
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint problems
- Myofascial pain
- Pelvic pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Shoulder impingement
- Spinal issues
- Trigger points
Trigger points – areas of knotted muscles that are usually sore to the touch – are one of the more common conditions successfully treated with dry needling. These knots of muscle often create what is called “referred pain” that takes unusual pathways to create symptoms in other parts of the body.
One particular study on the effectiveness of dry needling highlighted the story of a patient with low back pain for nearly a year following a microdiscectomy. He volunteered as a test subject for dry needling and, after just two treatments, reported being pain-free for the first time in 11 months following his surgery.
How Dry Needling Works
Damaged, inflamed, or irritated tissue tends to cause nearby muscles to contract, which in turn can restrict blood flow to the area and make your condition worse instead of better.
Dry needling involves inserting a needle through the skin into the area of injury in order to stimulate a healing response in the area. The micro tears caused by the needle prompts the body’s natural defenses to get to work, bringing nutrient-rich blood to the site and boosting tissue repair. Dry needling also helps to dissipate inflammatory mediators, those substances that gather in an area of inflammation.
Sometimes the needles are inserted deep and sometimes shallow, but either way the idea is to bring relief. Muscle twitches or spasms are considered a good sign that the correct depth has been reached during the procedure.
Dry needling is usually just one component in a larger pain management program. It may be accompanied by exercise, massage, hands-on manual therapy, heat therapy, and more.
If you still have pain even after trying other treatment methods, contact the pain-relief experts at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness. They can tell you if dry needling may help you. Call (512) 284-7192 or request an appointment now to put an end to your pain, once and for all.