The Ultimate Guide to Dry Needling
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is an effective process to treat musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. It may not be suitable for all painful muscular conditions, and it is mandatory to take a doctor’s advice in this regard. It can help to ease muscle strain. The Integrative Dry Needling System connects the local symptoms with the body, particularly the systematic balance of biomechanics of human movement.
Studies support that dry needling is more effective in minimizing pain in a 12-week follow-up period and amplifies pain pressure threshold than other treatments.
How does it work?
It is different from acupuncture and based on neuro-anatomy and the latest scientific study of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. The needles get inserted into the “trigger point” (deeper tissues) in the body. It contains no saline and can stay in the body for 30 seconds to 30 minutes as per the level of therapy required.
It causes a micro lesion in the damaged tissue, which breaks up shortened tissues. The process slows down the impulse reaction to the specific tissue. Then, it reduces inflammation and relieves the pain in your body. The therapy manages your pain and enhances your body’s healing power along with tissue restoration.
Conditions You can Treat by Dry Needling
Physical therapy depends on the level and severity of your condition. In some cases, medical history can also be a factor in deciding if IDN is suitable or not. The method of treatment could be effective for the following conditions.
- Neck pain
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Headache including migraines
- Shoulder pain
- Muscle spasms
- Jaw pain
- Torn ligaments
- Buttock pain
- Leg pain
The therapy is quite effective in providing relief from the above conditions. Some of the above conditions are treatable in one session, while others may require weeks or even months. It may also depend on your body’s response to treatment.
Effects of Dry Needling
1. Local Effects of Dry Needling
Dry needling involves inserting the needle in soft tissues to relieve the pain in the trigger point and is a therapeutic modality for soft tissue dysfunction. It involves soft tissue injuries like sterilized nerve tissue, tissue inflammation, tissue adhesion, and scar tissue formation.
The process starts by inserting the needle into the skin and stretching the tissues. It creates lesions in soft tissues. So the needling process offers both physical (tissue stretching) and biochemical stimuli.
Moreover, the process helps reduce local physical stress, normalize local inflammation, and replace injured tissues with new tissues.
2. Systematic Effects of Dry Needling
The needling process is invasive and has local and systematic effects by restoring both local tissues homeostasis and systematic homeostasis. In addition, systematic homeostasis can relieve both physiological and psychological pain.
Physical stress includes muscular pain that causes joint and posture imbalance. At the same time, physiological stress can result in physiological dysfunction, including inflammation and tissue ischemia.
3. Non-specific Patho-physiological Feature of Needling
Needing relieves pain and restores tissue homeostasis that activates biological self-healing and self-repair physiological mechanisms. Therefore, it is a non-specific therapy.
4. Modular Mechanism of Dry Needling
The needling process relieves pain and minimizes inflammation. The approach balances the systematic nervous system and creates a balance between vasodilators like adenosine and nitric oxide, including vasoconstrictors like superoxide and others. Besides, needling minimizes the secretion of norepinephrine from sympathetic nerves. This stimulates the adrenaline hormone and increases the secretion of acetylcholine of parasympathetic nerves that regulate immune physiology.
Is Needling Process Painful?
The needle is thin, solid, and flexible that penetrates the skin easily (it does not cut the skin). The treatment is painless to an extent and reduces discomfort. However, sometimes, the patient may feel a local twitch response sensation. The response is slight and feels like an electric shock, ache sensation, or cramp.
However, it is a normal response, and your physical therapist will make your experience comfortable. After needling treatment, you must keep specific points in mind, like increasing your water intake, applying ice over the area, and moderate stretches. However, it may depend on the discomfort the individual experiences in response to the treatment.
Effectiveness of Needle Treatment
Every patient’s response towards the treatment is different. Some individuals may recover from pain earlier with dry needling therapy, while others may take time. However, integrative dry needling therapy can benefit in the following ways.
1) Pain Relief and Muscle Tightness
The treatment has several benefits, like it minimizes pain in the trigger points in your body. When a needle penetrates your skin, it will reduce inflammation and put pressure on the specific muscle that has caused pain. As a result, the pain will reduce immediately.
2) Improved Range of Motion
In addition to pain, the process also helps in improving the overall movement of the affected body part. The fluid movement and full range of motion are necessary for muscles, so the therapy can help maintain it. Plus, dry needling can minimize pain and improve the overall function of your muscles to prevent the occurrence of discomfort.
3) Speedy Recovery
Depending on the severity level of injuries, they may require excessive time to recover. Dry needling is one the best therapies that offer speedy recovery compared to the treatment options.
Precaution before Dry Needling Treatment
You should discuss any prior medical history with your physical therapist before getting needling treatment.
- Make sure not to eat 30 minutes before getting the treatment.
- Stay hydrated, and don’t forget to empty your bladder before treatment.
- It is better to wear loose-fitting clothes to make sure easy access to the affected area.
Dry needling treatment is one of the physical therapies beneficial for pain relief and inflammation reduction in muscles. Despite many benefits, it may not be the best option under some conditions. So, it is advisable to always discuss all your medical history with your physical therapist before deciding to undergo the treatment. Only choose a doctor that has been trained in dry needling.