Dry needling is a treatment technique we use quite frequently at our physical therapy clinic. Many people are unaware of what all it entails. We are going to answer all of your questions including the benefits, if it hurts and much more. We hear these common questions, so here is a little dry needling 101 to get you started.
What is it and what does it do?
Dry needling uses a ‘dry’ needle, with no medication, inserted into the skin and areas of the muscle. Your licensed physical therapist will assess if you are a good candidate based on your injury and symptoms. The therapist treating you will look for trigger points, or knotted up tight bands of muscle.
They will insert a needle into one or several of those points and may move the needle up and down or rotate it to get the muscle to twitch. Twitches are a good thing, but can be sudden, sharp, or cause part of all of your body to move suddenly. This muscle twitch allows the tight knots to release and restore normal function of your muscle.
Does it hurt?
You can experience some uncomfortable sensations initially from the needling. However, the pain is very temporary for the long-term benefits you will experience. Muscle twitches can sometimes feel sharp or sudden, you may feel a dull ache during the treatment, or may have muscle soreness after treatment. Typically the soreness can last for 24-48 hours, similar to the soreness experienced after an intense workout. After some hydration and stretching to the area, you should notice an improvement in your symptoms with decreased overall muscle tension.
Dry needling vs. acupuncture
Dry needling is not the same as acupuncture. In fact, dry needling is based on the laws of modern medicine vs acupuncture which is based on the laws of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It targets specific trigger point locations throughout the body based on your therapist’s assessment to directly release muscle tension vs acupuncture, which follows the Traditional Chinese Medicine’s concept of energy flow in which needles are inserted into predetermined locations throughout the body to promote healing.
There are huge benefits to dry needling to get you back to your normal function and feeling better! For more informations or to schedule an appointment, contact Synergy Physical Therapy and Wellness today!