Chronic pain is an unfortunate part of the lives of roughly 50 million American adults, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain can have a heavy physical and emotional toll if it remains unaddressed.
Conservative treatments are often used to relieve this type of pain. However, when these prove to be insufficient, your doctor may recommend alternative methods, such as dry needling.
Dry needling is a pain management and physical therapy technique used to treat pain in targeted areas. It is considered minimally invasive since it involves skin penetration. This treatment draws inspiration from the practice of acupuncture but follows science-based guidelines to treat painful areas.
What Happens During Dry Needling?
During dry needling, thin needles are inserted into your body’s trigger points. Trigger points are tight knots in your muscle that develop due to overuse or trauma, causing pain across a particular area. Because it targets these areas, dry needling is also known as trigger point therapy or intramuscular stimulation.
Your provider will carefully manipulate the needles to stimulate muscle tissue and repeat this with other trigger points as needed. The needles, which do not have any medications, remain in your muscles for a few minutes.
It’s common to feel some discomfort. Minor twitching or discomfort are considered good signs that your muscles are responding to the treatment. Dry needling can change how your brain communicates with your muscles by releasing pent-up muscle tension.
How Does Dry Needling Relieve Pain?
Now that you know how dry needling works, let’s delve into how it relieves chronic pain.
Relaxing Blood Flow
An overused or strained muscle is in a state of prolonged contraction. These painful knots do not receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients from the circulatory system. As a result, patients feel localized pain and numbness due to insufficient blood supply.
When a needle is inserted into the trigger point, it supports proper blood flow that relaxes the muscle. It stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins or chemicals that relieve pain. It also allows you to regain your previous range of motion and strength.
Targeting Problem Areas
Dry needling can target the cause of your pain more effectively than a therapeutic massage. Over time, it can reduce dependence on painkillers.
Complementing Other Treatment Methods
Dry needling is often used in conjunction with other treatment modalities like exercise, medication, and physical therapy. It can reduce pain from a wide range of conditions such as:
- Headaches, migraines
- Joint problems
- Muscle strains
- Nerve disorders
- Repetitive motion disorders
- TMJ disorder
Dry needling can also support patients recovering from surgery and individuals who may want to delay surgery. However, it’s important to note that the duration of pain relief differs. Some might experience immediate relief, while others may need more than one session to get the results they want.
Who Is Not A Candidate For Dry Needling?
Despite its flexibility as a treatment method, dry needling is not recommended for everyone. Pregnant women, individuals taking blood thinners, and people who are afraid of needles are not advised to undergo needle-based procedures. Consult with your doctor first to check whether this is a suitable option for you.
Dry Needling In Austin, Round Rock, & Manor, TX
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to pain management. It would have to depend on the cause, location, and severity of your distress. If you would like to check whether you are a good candidate for dry needling, visit Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness.
Our licensed physical therapists use dry needling to alleviate chronic pain alongside other physical therapy techniques. Dry needling is highly effective in relieving pain and restoring function. In addition to trigger point therapy, we also offer hand therapy, general physical therapy, and occupational therapy at our clinics.
To schedule a consultation, call (512) 284-7192 or fill out our online appointment request form. We have offices conveniently located in Austin, Round Rock, and Manor to serve you. Give us a call today and let us help you live a pain-free life.