What the heck is Dry Needling?
Let’s face it, most of us hate the thought of needles. Some of us even pass out at the site of a long, sharp needle aimed at our anatomy. I, personally, have chased more than one of my children around the doctor’s exam table at vaccination time. So, as I explain this, I will take your concerns to heart. Dry needling is actually a treatment to reduce pain! It can also be used for healing and improving motion. I know what you are thinking. How can a needle reduce my pain? To be specific, dry needling is a treatment based on western medicine and current understanding of neuroanatomy ( how nerves, muscles, and other body parts work together). A needle about the thickness of a human hair isinserted into muscles, tendons, or ligaments to improve movement, speed healing, and reduce pain. Medical studies have shown that dry needling kick starts the healing process particularly well. It also has been shown to change the chemical reactions at the site of irritation by reducing the chemicals that create both pain and inflammation. The chemical response it creates literally blocks the transmission of pain messages. Does it hurt? In most cases, the sensation is more like a quick prick followed by a dull ache that lessens usually in seconds. Most people think the needle has little sensation, particularly in light of the pain that they are already experiencing. Also newer treatments use a “comfort tube” around the needle that further lessens the sensation. Many times I will insert the needle and the person will ask when I am going to start. So while dry needling may not be painless, it is usually comfortable. So why would you do it…..You know those tight and painful spots in your shoulder and shoulder blade that talk to you when you work at your computer? Dry needling is the perfect way to tame that muscular tiger. Are you tired of your chronic plantarfascitis or tennis elbow? Dry needling works well for that too. Usually patients report increased motion and decreased pain within two to three visits. Headache got you down? The tension at the back of the neck melts with the dry needling. While it will not cure the common cold or treat your allergies, dry needling is a great option for reducing neuromuscular issues.
Here are some common conditions that respond well to Dry Needling:
1. Acute and chronic tendonitis
2. Sore and tight muscles or “trigger points”
3. Athletic and work related overuse injuries
4. Chronic pain
6. Neck and Back pain
7. Knee arthritis
8. Frozen shoulder
9. TMJ or Jaw pain
Dry Needling works best in concert with a larger treatment plan. For example, with a frozen shoulder, you will need to stretch that joint as the dry needling reduces the tightness and pain. For your headaches, it might be necessary to look at your posture or work station set up along with dry needling. After all, you want the best result possible, right? The good news is that dry needling is usually covered by insurance. So what are you waiting for?