Dry Needling for Chronic Pain
About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, defined as pain that lasts longer than three months. Chronic pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating. With chronic pain, signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for months or even years. This can take both a physical and emotional toll on a person. For many people living with chronic pain, finding pain relief can be tough. A lot of trial and error is involved to find a pain treatment that works.
Physical therapists like those at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness in Austin, Texas, are particularly adept at using a variety of effective techniques to relieve your chronic pain symptoms.
One such technique is dry needling, which is used to relieve pain caused by trigger points. Trigger points are painful knots of muscle that can develop from overuse, lack of use, or trauma to the tissue. Trigger points are usually sore when pressed, and often cause pain in other areas of the body. For example, a collection of taut muscles — a trigger point — in the upper back can cause pain to radiate to the head, neck, and shoulder. Patients with trigger points often experience headaches, back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, and more.
How Dry Needling Works
The goal of dry needling is to cause the knotted muscles to contract then relax. This is accomplished by inserting a hair-thin needle into the muscle membrane (fascia) to create a twitch response that then depolarizes the tissue. During dry needling treatment, needles are slowly inserted into the tight muscle, gently manipulated, and removed after a short period of time. This is repeated in other trigger points in different parts of the body if needed.
Dry needling is used to target muscle tissue not easily manually manipulated with other physical therapy techniques such as therapeutic massage. It is called “dry” needling because the needles are not injecting any type of medication or other solution into the body.
Dry needling is referred to by different names, including:
- Trigger point dry needling
- Myofascial trigger point dry needling
- Intramuscular manual therapy (IMT)
- Intramuscular stimulation
There may be some discomfort with the initial muscle contraction or twitch, but any pain felt is typically minor and soreness abates two hours to two days after treatment.
At Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness in Austin, Texas, our physical therapists find that dry needling is most successful in treating chronic pain when used in conjunction with other physical therapy treatments.
Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture
Dry needling may seem similar to acupuncture, but the two are very different therapeutic approaches.
Acupuncture also involves the insertion of hair-thin needles at designated areas of the body — but in an effort to alleviate pain or treat disease by balancing a patient’s life energy (chi or Qi) believed to flow in distinct pathways throughout the body.
Dry needling, on the other hand, follows medical science-based guidelines to target and unknot muscles at specific trigger points, to alleviate pain it may be causing elsewhere in the body.
Dry Needling in Austin, Round Rock, & Manor, TX
At Endeavor Physical Therapy, our physical therapists use dry needling to help treat patients by releasing muscle tension and pain with the use of acupuncture needles.
This procedure is used to treat patients with:
- Herniated discs
- Knee pain
- Muscle strains
- Nerve disorders
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rotator cuff syndrome
- TMJ disorder
To request your appointment for dry needling, call Endeavor Physical Therapy in Austin, Texas, at (512) 284-7192 or request an appointment now.