Dry needling, also known as intramuscular stimulation or medical acupuncture, is a treatment that involves the insertion of very small, thin stainless-steel needles into hypertonic spasmed muscle fibers and/or trigger point locations. Trigger points are little areas of spasm that can be unpleasant when pressed. They are usually 1-3cm in diameter. The discomfort in the trigger points can frequently “refer” to other areas of the body.
Dry needling has been demonstrated to loosen tense muscles, enhance blood flow, reduce pain, and promote neurotransmitter release. It aids in the expansion of the range of motion.
This can be used to address musculoskeletal disorders that are chronic (long-term) or acute (recently occurred injuries or conditions).
With dry needling, what circumstances can be improved?
• Muscle pain
• Carpal tunnel
• Phantom pain
• Low back pain
• Slipped disc pain
• Muscle strain/sprain
• Tension-type headaches
• Computer-related disorders
• Whiplash associated disorders
• Joint dysfunction/loss of range of motion
Does Dry Needling hurt?
There may be a small discomfort with insertion in particular regions where muscles are more superficial (closer to the skin) or where there is higher inflammation. To be clear, pain virtually never lasts more than a second. The needle is withdrawn if it does not. Almost 80% of the insertion patients had no feeling at all.
A “twitch response” is another sign that the trigger site is being isolated. This can result in a dull discomfort or a quick jolt.
Are there any side effects from dry needling?
Almost all patients can benefit from dry needling. If the treatment region is not viewed, people who have a major needle phobia or other anxiety about being treated with needles may be able to tolerate treatment.
Dry needling, like any other sort of therapy, can have unwanted side effects include discomfort at the point of needle insertion, muscular stiffness, exhaustion, and bruising. Dry needling is a safe and effective treatment option in the hands of a qualified therapist, and patients often notice immediate improvements in range of motion and joint usage.
With younger patients, caution is advised; dry needling is not recommended for children under the age of 12 based on empirical evidence. If a child is receiving dry needling, both the parent and the child must provide their agreement, and the child must comprehend the technique completely before therapy begins.
How long a dry needling session will it take?
Each session lasts either 10-15 minutes (when used in conjunction with other treatments) or up to 20-30 minutes if numerous regions are treated. On most days, less treatment is recommended versus overstimulating a patient with too many treatment regions.
To regain maximal muscle function or maximum relief, it’s normal to need frequent dry needling therapy sessions; however, maximum function/relief differs by individual. Because trigger points are placed deep inside the muscles, it usually takes several sessions for the adjustments to become fully effective. Patients will typically notice a difference following the first appointment.
Could you please share your dry needling (acupuncture) experience in the comments box so that others can get a different perspective on this treatment?