Just the word ‘needle’ can sometimes take us on the path to an anxiety attack– cue PTSD memories of flu shot season at the doctor’s office.
Or that one time your friend from yoga talked you into going to acupuncture where you laid down struck with fear trying not to move due to the influx of needles stuck into your body.
Needles sort of have a bad rep, until now. Physical therapists are introducing a new technique that doesn’t associate pain with needles. Instead, the new term known as dry needlingis supposed to help with the occasional stiff back or muscle soreness.
So, how exactly does dry needling work and isn’t the same as acupuncture?
Dry needling is often confused with acupuncture as both practices involve using a very thin needle to penetrate the skin (so thin you barely feel it). Acupuncture is rooted in Chinese medicine that stimulates certain points within the body. It’s often used for anxiety, depression, headaches, and pain.
However, dry needling is often performed by a physical therapist and used to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points and connective tissues in order to reduce pain in certain areas of your body. This is considered the trigger point technique and it is used to to get rid of tricky knots that can develop overtime. Basically, your PT finds a knot or hard muscle area and uses this technique release the knot and dissolve any pain associated with it, helping to eliminate those aches and pains.
Not only does dry needling get rid of pain, this new technique can also improve flexibility and range of motion, due to the release of tension within those knots. These benefits of dry needling definitely make life better but, what’s the best part? This treatment only takes about ten to thirty minutes to complete. Sign us up!
I know you’re wondering, what’s the catch?
Dry needling can come with a few rare, but mild side effects. The most common include mild bleeding, bruising, and temporary soreness. It’s also important to only see an educated professional who uses sterile needles. In rare cases, if non-sterile needles are used you open yourself up to the risk of blood-borne illnesses and infections. Always make sure to do your research and make an appointment with a trained professional who has plenty of experience.
Are you a candidate for this procedure? Dry needling is great for:
- Neck/Back pain
- Muscle Spasms
- Hip/Knee pain
- Golfers/Tennis Elbow
- Muscle strains
- Chronic/Acute injuries
Check out these local PT’s in the Charleston area who offer dry needling services: