What Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a treatment provided by a trained professional that uses a thin filiform needle (acupuncture needle) to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscles, and connective tissues.
How Does Dry Needling Help?
The purpose of dry needling is to help manage the pain and improve movement impairments such as muscle tightness or muscle spasm.
The practitioner inserts the thin needle into a trigger point, which is a hard or knotted muscle, helping to release the knot and relieve any muscle pain or spasms. The needle stays in the skin for a short time, the practitioner determines how long. They may insert and remove the needle or they may poke it around a little before removing it to further stimulate the muscle.
After treatment, you may feel less pain, or better range of motion.
What Are the Risks?
Your practitioner should explain the risk factors to you, which include:
- Muscle soreness
What Conditions Can I Do Dry Needling?
Anyone can benefit from dry needling.
Certain ailments that are most commonly treated with dry needling include:
- Muscular tension/stiffness
- Muscular or joint pain
- Muscular injury (strain, sprain, or tear)
- Restricted joint range of motion
- Muscle cramps
- Pelvic pain
- Migraine and tension-type headaches, jaw problems, as well as spinal and disc problems.
What Can a Person Expect After the Treatment?
It’s very common and normal for the area needled to feel sore, bruise, tender and tight for one to three days. This muscle soreness feels much like that of a bruise or DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) that you get after working out.
Expectations following dry needling depend on the purpose of the treatment. If you’re working on muscle flexibility, you should expect improved range of motion. If you’re working on pain, you should expect decreased pain.
How Often Should a Person Get the Treatment?
Dry needling doesn’t have a restriction as far as frequency. However, recommended full recovery from side effects such as soreness before having a follow-up dry needling session. It’s beneficial to understand the effects of dry needling on yourself prior to a second session, to know how much intensity should be used on the next session.
Contraindication of Dry Needling
Dry needling also should be avoided in patients under the following conditions:
- Patient who needle-fobia.
- Patient who does not give any consent to needle because of fear or disbelief.
- Over lymphedema area: may increase risk of infection
- Allergies to metal.
- Unsuitable patients under certain conditions.
What Should Be Adviced to Reduce Soreness Post-Needled?
- Drink lots of plain water
- Stretches your muscles often
- Continue normal physical activity
- Lightly massage the area
- Use ice for soreness