Recovery is a critical aspect of physical therapy, and there's a technique that's been gaining attention in recent years: dry needling. As Physical Therapists, we’ve seen
firsthand the remarkable benefits of this approach in helping patients overcome pain
and regain their quality of life.
What Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a minimally invasive, evidence-based treatment technique performed by trained healthcare professionals, most commonly, Physical Therapists. It involves the use of thin, solid needles to target “trigger points”, which are hyperirritable spots in muscles or connective tissue that can be a source of pain, muscle tightness, and limited range of motion. Unlike acupuncture, which is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, dry needling is based on modern anatomical and neurophysiological principles. During a dry needling session, a trained Physical Therapist will locate the trigger points in your muscles and precisely insert a thin, sterile needle into these areas. This process creates a small "micro-lesion" that stimulates the body's natural healing response. Pioneering studies have shown that inserting a needle into a trigger point causes biochemical changes which is the first step in breaking the pain cycle. This highly skilled intervention promotes blood flow, releases muscle tension, and encourages the body to repair and remodel the affected tissues.
What Conditions can Dry Needling treat?
Dry needling can treat a variety of diagnoses, including but not limited to:
Chronic back/neck pain
Hip or knee pain
Why Incorporate Dry Needling into Your Recovery?
Pain Relief: Dry needling can provide rapid pain relief. By targeting trigger points, it helps reduce muscle tightness, inflammation, and discomfort. Many patients experience significant improvements in just a few sessions.
Improved Range of Motion: Restricted mobility is a common issue during recovery. Dry needling can help increase your range of motion by releasing tight muscles, allowing for better joint movement and flexibility.
Complements Other Therapies: Dry needling can be integrated into your existing physical therapy plan. It often works synergistically with exercises, manual therapy, and other treatment modalities, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your rehabilitation.
Non-Invasive: Unlike surgery, dry needling is a non-invasive procedure with minimal discomfort. Most patients report feeling only a slight, momentary sensation during the needle insertion.
Speedy Recovery: Quick results are a common outcome of dry needling, making it an attractive choice for those looking to accelerate their recovery process.
What Should I Expect After Dry Needling?
During dry needling, you should expect twitches that may feel like deep cramps. Following treatment you will feel sore, similar to how you would feel after a good workout anywhere from a few hours to a few days. This should not interfere with any of your normal activities. It is encouraged to keep moving to help reduce soreness. You should begin to experience a decrease in pain and tightness in the area that was treated.
As Physical Therapists, we’ve seen countless patients experience the remarkable benefits of dry needling. Whether you're recovering from a sports injury, managing chronic pain, or seeking relief from musculoskeletal issues, incorporating dry needling into your recovery plan can be a game-changer. This technique, backed by scientific evidence, offers a safe and effective way to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and speed up your healing journey. If you're considering physical therapy, don't hesitate to discuss the potential benefits of dry needling with your therapist—it could be the key to unlocking a quicker and more comfortable recovery.
Muscle & Joint Physical Therapy (MJPT) is an independent, family-owned clinic located in Lakeview East focused on the treatment of orthopedic, spine, and sports-related injuries. We specialize in conditions of the neck, head/face, shoulder, back, hip, knee, and foot & ankle. Our mission is to facilitate your "comeback" by providing education, motivation, and treatment to people dealing with pain and dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system. MJPT was established in 2020 with the goal of creating a clinic that has the best clinicians AND the best customer service. We want to be the "go-to" practice for our neighbors.