What in the world is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is the generic term for a therapeutic treatment that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into a muscle, or group of muscles which produce pain and usually contain a ‘Myofascial Trigger Point’, or more commonly referred to ‘a knot’. The needle used for this therapy is solid core and very thin, similar to those used in acupuncture, containing no injectable solution, hence the term ‘Dry’.

Who is a candidate for Dry Needling?

Dry needling is effective for both acute and chronic pain symptoms, rehabilitation from injury, as well as pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. The most common cause of nerve irritation and neuropathic pain is underlying spinal degeneration (i.e. spondylosis of the spine), which can be a result of trauma and/or normal wear and tear of your body.

Spondylosis, or spinal degeneration irritates the nerve root and eventually leads to neuropathy which can result in the corresponding muscle shortening/tightening, thus leading to pain and dysfunction of these affected muscles. The introduction of a dry needle into the active trigger points of these muscles can provide enormous relief of symptoms.

Dry Needling may also be used for the following acute and chronic sport-related injuries, among others:

  • Muscle tears
  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis/golfers elbow

What am I going to feel during my session?

Most patients won’t even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it has and is advanced into the muscle, the feeling of discomfort can vary drastically for everyone.

Usually, a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened, or has active trigger points within it, the patient may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp — which is often referred to as ‘twitch responses’. The twitch response has a biochemical characteristic to it which likely affects the reaction of the muscle, symptoms, and response of the tissue after treatment.

During a session, you may only feel the cramping sensation locally or commonly you may feel a referral of pain or even the same symptoms for which you are seeking treatment. This reproduction of pain can be helpful as a diagnostic indicator of the cause of your painful symptoms. After the first or second session, you may even begin to recognize the twitch responses. Typically, positive results are seen after 2-4 treatment sessions, but of course, this can vary depending on the cause and duration of your symptoms, as well as your overall health.

How do I prepare for my session?

All that we ask is that you wear loose clothing near the area needing treatment so that the Doctor may have access to the skin where needles will be placed. As with most myofascial therapies, staying well hydrated will always help to reduce any residual soreness or symptoms post-treatment.

Please, by all means, feel free to call or email with any additional questions or to inquire about dry needling as needed.

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