Have you heard about dry needling, but don't know what it is? Here are answers to frequently asked questions as well as links to some of the latest research involving this specialty treatment.
DRY NEEDLING, DEFINED
Dry needling is a technique to address muscle pain and dysfunction. Muscles can become unhappy for any number of reasons - from driving in the car too long to sleeping on too soft a mattress. This can cause myofascial trigger points. Trigger points are especially tender areas within muscle. They can cause pain directly where they are located and also can be the source of pain which radiates into other areas. For example, it’s been found that trigger points in the neck can radiate to the ear.
Dry needling involves the use of very small diameter filament needles. They are inserted into the trigger point. The needling treatment usually lasts only a few seconds. After treatment, blood flow and oxygen are restored to the area and the pool of pain-signally chemicals is diluted. This promotes muscle relaxation, improves muscle function, and decreases pain.
Patients may experience soreness after the treatment, which can last anywhere from a few minutes to a day or two.
We are happy to answer your questions about dry needling and whether it can work for you. Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What type of needle is used?
Physical therapists use a very small diameter filament needle. It is 0.2 mm to 0.3 mm in diameter. It is very similar to the type used by acupuncturists. However, the needles used at Sun Physical Therapy were specifically designed for use by physical therapists.
Will it hurt?
Initially the needled is tapped gently and generally painlessly into the skin. it is then inserted to the muscular trigger point. The patient will experience a twitching sensation as the area is treated. If there is post-treatment soreness, it can last anywhere from a few minutes to a day or two. We are happy to answer any questions a patient may have about the treatment.
How should I care for the area after treatment?
We generally recommend that the most important thing to do after treatment is to keep moving. Don't fear movement. It is good for the tissue. If you want to use heat or ice, you can, but it's not necessary. Your therapist will give you specific directions for aftercare if needed, but generally this is it.
Is this treatment like acupuncture?
Dry needling uses a similar diameter needle for treatment. However, at Sun Physical Therapy, we treat only muscle and, occasionally, scar tissue with dry needling. We also utilize the traditional physical therapist model of care, which involves looking for musculoskeletal dysfunction and providing appropriate treatment. We use dry needling to treat dysfunction in muscle with the goal of decreasing pain, restoring mobility and improving function.