Dry needling sounds intimidating, but is nothing to be afraid of. Rather it is a powerful tool to combine with other forms of physical therapy treatments. Dry needling can help those who suffer from arthritis, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, back pain, shin splints, to name a few. Everyone can benefit from dry needling, but few are aware of what dry needling is and how it can be beneficial in their life.
What is dry needling?
Dry needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle into trigger point or “knots”. A trigger point is a group of tight shortened bands of muscle tissue which often cause pain in various parts of the body. These trigger points can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as bad posture, repetitive stress and injury. When deactivating a trigger point or releasing the tension of a shortened muscle with the needle, it helps restore the muscle to normal function.
Is dry needling the same as acupuncture?
Dry needling and acupuncture use the same needles, but that is where their similarity ends. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine which seeks to address the flow of energy in the body by activating meridian points within the body, whereas dry needling uses knowledge rooted in western neuroanatomy, and is more concerned with treating specific neuromuscular problems caused by trigger points.
What to expect from your first dry needling appointment?
The first question that comes to most people’s minds is, will it hurt? Generally, the insertion of the needle is painless. When the needle hits the trigger point, a “twitch response” may provoke a quick pain sensation similar to a muscle cramp, beyond that dry needling is generally pain free for most individuals.
Immediately after the treatment expect to feel sore for the first 24-48 hours. After a dry needling session it feels as if you are sore from an intense workout. Soreness does depend on the area treated as well as varies person to person.
What are the benefits of dry needling?
Some of the more common known benefits of dry needling are reduced pain, tightness and spasms, but also helps improves overall functional movement; by improving motion, flexibility, strength, and control of the muscle. Dry needling can also speed up recovery rate and increase blood circulation.
Combined with other physical therapy treatments dry needling can help a variety of people, from those who suffer from chronic pain to athletes looking to increase mobility, speed up recovery and reduce pain.
Remember, dry needling is nothing to be scared of and it can be a great tool to help improve your daily life.
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