Try This Unique Way To Relieve Joint/Muscle Pain

Dry needling. Some might think it’s a sewing technique. But it’s actually a modern science-based treatment that’s routinely successful in addressing several conditions.

A trained therapist can use dry needling (DN) to treat:

  • Neck ache
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Back pain
  • Hip
  • Headaches
  • Knee pain

Dry needling gets its name because its very fine needles aren’t used to inject fluids. Other treatments inject fluids such as a steroid, or cortisone, into your body.

Dry needling, also known as intramuscular stimulation, changes the way your body senses pain.

The thin needles are inserted into painful muscle knots (we call these myofascial trigger points). Needles can also be inserted into tendons, ligaments and scar tissue.

The needles stimulate electrical and chemical changes in tissues. A key change is a reduction of the trigger point(s) and releasing of taut bands of tissues. Dry needing typically:

  • Relieves uncomfortable muscle spasms.
  • Releases the muscle knots or taut bands.
  • Increases muscle pliability.
  • Helps the body heal.

During the dry needling procedure, the therapist will gently tap a sterile, single-use needle into the area we’re treating.

You may feel a small pinprick. Then there may be a twitch or minor ache or cramp in the muscle. You may also notice some bruising.

The number of needles used and how they’re administered depends on your condition.

Is Dry Needling Safe?

This is a low-risk treatment when administered by a trained physical therapist. Your therapist will explain rare reactions that may occur such as sweating or feeling faint.

How Does Dry Needling Differ from Acupuncture?

The needles used in dry needing are similar to acupuncture needles. However, acupuncture, which originated in China 5,000 years ago, is based on balancing the body’s chi — the life energy.

Chi flows in the body along twelve pathways or meridians. Each links to specific internal organs or systems.

Carefully inserted needles can redirect and reposition the flow of body energy. Changing the flow of chi can relieve pain, tension and stress.

Dry needling is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles. It involves needling of muscle knots (trigger points) to relax overactive muscles.

Dry Needling Complements Other Treatments

Dry needling is part of a comprehensive therapy program. Other options include chiropractic care and massage therapy.

DN can relieve pain. It can allow you to more comfortably do beneficial joint and muscle stretching and strengthening.

A range of treatments, work together to return you to normal muscle function.

If you have a sports injury, you may want to request a free injury evaluation. We can work with you to recover from your injury and return to your favorite activities — and back to living well!

Meet the Author

Julian Rivera, DTP, CMTPT is a physical therapist at Aurora Sports Health in Racine, WI. 

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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