Dry needling is a pain management treatment that aims to relieve muscle tension and restore function. It comes in many names, from trigger point therapy to myofascial trigger point dry needling. Trained physical therapists usually perform dry needling on injured athletes and individuals suffering from chronic pain.
Here’s what you need to know before booking a session for dry needling in Texas.
What Happens During Dry Needling?
During a dry needling treatment, a trained professional inserts thin needles into tight knots of muscle called trigger points. They might feel like hard spheres or marbles under your skin. The needles do not carry any solution or medication—that’s why it’s called dry.
Once they are in, your doctor will carefully manipulate the needles to cause the tense muscles to relax gradually. These don’t stay embedded in the skin for a long time; your physical therapist will remove them after a few minutes. The treatment is repeated in other trigger points as needed. It’s common to experience some muscle soreness after a dry needling session, but it wears off quickly.
Dry needling is not a standalone treatment but used in conjunction with other modalities, like pain medication, exercise, and physical therapy. Let’s go through the conditions where dry needling may be able to help.
What Conditions Can Dry Needling Treat?
Sometimes, muscles form knotted areas known as trigger points due to trauma, overuse, and even lack of use. When muscles get strained, they do not receive enough blood supply and the oxygen and nutrients that come with it. The prolonged contraction affects the surrounding structures, with the tissue becoming more acidic and the nerves becoming sensitive.
If you sustain a musculoskeletal injury, your doctor may recommend dry needling. Muscles near joints and between the shoulder blades are common places for painful trigger point formation. Inserting a needle into these areas can help normalize blood supply and release muscle tension. It can also activate a series of processes that release endorphins — hormones that relieve stress and pain.
Dry needling can help with many conditions, such as:
- Knee pain
- Muscle strain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rotator cuff syndrome
Dry needling can also provide migraine relief. These severe headaches can come unexpectedly and spread to the forehead and temples. Since prolonged use of migraine medication may be harmful, your doctor may recommend dry needling as part of your treatment plan.
During your dry needling session, a specialist will insert needles into trigger points in the upper back. These painful knots of muscle may cause pain to radiate to other areas of the body, such as the head.
Some patients may see results immediately after the session, but it’s different for everyone. It may take several sessions of dry needling before you notice an improvement.
Chronic pain can be debilitating for many people. In many cases, pain signals remain even after an injury or illness has already been addressed. Beyond the obvious physical ramifications, chronic pain also has devastating mental consequences.
This type of pain can develop because of an injury, but it has also been linked to conditions like:
- Nerve disorders
- TMJ disorder
Dry needling may help with cases of chronic pain that you feel in specific trigger points. However, remember that it is not a standalone treatment but rather another viable option that you can add to your pain management plan. Make sure to ask your doctor for advice before trying dry needling.
Who Should Not Get Dry Needling?
Despite its multiple benefits, dry needling is not for everyone. In particular, pregnant women should not undergo needle-based treatments, including acupuncture. Likewise, individuals with severe fear of needles or trypanophobia should skip this treatment and look at other options. It would be best to consult with our physical therapy clinics in Austin, Texas, to find out what else you can do to ease your painful symptoms.
Dry Needling in Texas
Dry needling is a safe and effective treatment that can relieve the acute pain caused by a wide range of musculoskeletal issues. This treatment can also provide relief from chronic pain.
If you would like to explore what dry needling can do for you, visit Endeavor Physical Therapy. Our physical therapists use dry needling to release muscle tension and pain. We have found that dry needling is most successful when used in combination with other treatments.
To schedule an appointment, call us today at (512) 284-7192 or fill out our online appointment request form. We have convenient locations serving Austin, Round Rock, Manor, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Bee Cave, and Hutto. Give us a call, and let us help you find long-lasting pain relief!