Have you ever experienced hard “knots” in your muscle? Those knots are known as “trigger points,” and they can cause significant pain over large areas, making it difficult to perform daily tasks. A common treatment option for relieving myofascial trigger point pain is dry needling.
What is the difference between trigger point dry needling and acupuncture?
Both trigger point dry needling and acupuncture use dry needles (ones that don’t involve medication) to gently prick specific spots in the body, but the treatments vary greatly. Acupuncture is primarily used to treat internal issues, such as digestive problems, stress and allergies, by removing blocked or interrupted “chi.” Dry needling is used to treat muscular pain, tension and myofascial dysfunction. Research published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy shows this helps release tight muscle bands associated with trigger points, leading to decreased pain and improved function.
What are the benefits of dry needling?
- Reducing pain and stiffness
- Improving flexibility
- Speeding up the recovery time
- Improving range of motion
- Easing joint pain
- Decreasing neurological pain
What conditions can dry needling help treat?
Dry needling can provide relief for several medical conditions, including:
- Back pain or neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Pelvic pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Shoulder impingements
- Spinal issues
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
- Tennis elbow
- Trigger points
- Whiplash and auto accident injuries
Is dry needling safe?
Trigger point dry needling is a safe and effective way to relieve muscle pain and tension in patients of all ages, including pregnant women and children. I use individually packaged, sterile single use and disposable needles. They are extremely fine (.16 to .30mm) and rarely cause bruising or bleeding. Some patients experience a slight tickle, while others say they feel a short period of pain. It can be normal to experience muscle soreness as the trigger point continues to work itself out, but that should clear up after one to two days.
What can you expect during a session?
After I identify the trigger point causing your pain or dysfunction, I gently insert a dry needle and manipulate it at the site until there’s a twitch response, indicating the muscle knot has released. The needle may be placed deeply or shallowly, for a short or long period of time, depending on your condition. Depending on the severity of your muscle tightness, you may need two to four sessions spaced one to two weeks apart to get lasting relief.
Can dry needling be used in conjunction with other treatments?
Like many of the services provided at our clinics, trigger point dry needling works well in conjunction with other treatments, including chiropractic adjustments, cupping, soft tissue therapy, laser therapy and rehabilitative taping.