It is easy to confuse trigger point dry needling with acupuncture, but the two serve very different purposes. If you experience muscle spasms or tension, you may be an excellent candidate to try out acupuncture’s lesser known relative. Your chronic musculoskeletal pain could benefit from dry needling.
What is dry needling?
Dry needling uses a very small filament needle much like the kind used in acupuncture. Whereas acupuncture can be used for many reasons, dry needling is exclusively used for the treatment of muscle pain. Your physical therapist will focus on a specific muscle point that is tight or tender. When the needle is inserted the muscle will twitch and then release, increasing flexibility. This will decrease the contraction of the muscle and allow it to relax. Dry needling has the added benefit of releasing toxins, further helping to alleviate pain. Trigger point dry needling can cause immediate pain relief in many cases, though it can take a few sessions to be effective.
What can I use dry needling for?
Dry needling is a useful solution to many common musculoskeletal issues that affect a variety of people. It can be used to aid with problems like chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain. If you experience tennis or golfer’s elbow dry needling could be an effective solution for you. Even problems that seem more complex, like arthritis, can benefit from trigger point dry needling.
Does it hurt?
The needle used in dry needling is just as small and typically painless as the type used in acupuncture, however because of the nature of dry needling, you may experience some mild pain. When the needle is inserted into a tender spot, the patient may experience an ache or cramping feeling because of the twitch response, but it is generally reported to be short-lived and only slightly uncomfortable.
Are there side effects?
After your dry needling session, it is not uncommon to experience a bit of soreness. Any post-needling pain is generally mild and can be treated with aspirin or warm baths. It is also fairly common for dry needling to cause bruising. You are absolutely permitted to engage in light exercise so long as it does not aggravate the soreness.
Life Fitness Physical Therapy in Columbia, MD and other Maryland Physical Therapy locations are open for you to start and maintain a healthy fitness routine. Contact Life Fitness Physical Therapy to schedule your appointment by calling 410.368.1026 or click here today.
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