The Basics of Dry Needling
- The practice of dry needling has been around for decades.
- It is a part of modern Western medicine principles and supported by research.
- There are many success stories that highlight the efficacy of dry needling for treating chronic pain and movement impairments.
- Is always a part of an overall treatment plan that typically includes manual therapy, physical exercises, and heat therapy.
How it Works: Getting to the Point
Our muscles sometimes contract in formations (or knots) called trigger points. Trigger points are painful when touched. Knots also cause referred pain (pain that affects other parts of the body). During a dry needling procedure, physical therapists push thin filiform needles into trigger points to invoke a twitch and reset the trigger points to a normal tone. The resolution of muscle knots restores segmental muscle function and alleviates pain.
Dry needling mustn’t be confused with acupuncture. The latter utilizes needles to release endorphins and treat pain, while the former uses needles to release tension from muscle fibers and bring relief to patients.
But is it Safe?
Dry needling is entirely safe. Practitioners sterilize needles after every session and ensure the highest hygiene standards to keep the surroundings germ- and bacteria-free.
Dry needling is also cited in the “APTA Board of Directors policy Guidelines: Physical Therapist Scope of Practice” as a valid therapeutic intervention for “alleviating impairment and functional limitation.”
What to Expect During and After the Treatment
You may experience different sensations when being needled: aching, twitching, and soreness are common side-effects. Therapists insert needles for as long a period and as deeply as required to treat your pain.
Bruising is normal after treatment and usually lasts 24-48 hours. In some cases, you may also experience fatigue. If bruising or fatigue continues past the 24-48 hours, make a note of it and discuss with your therapist on your next appointment.
Who should not have dry needling treatments?
Dry needling treatment is not for you if you:
- are pregnant; or
- have a fear of needles
Rest assured; dry needling should help you get back to your normal life quickly and safely.
ProMove PT Pain Specialists is your trusted Bethesda physical therapy practice, specializing in dry needling treatment and physical therapy for back, neck and jaw pain. Contact us today to discuss your chronic pain problem.