Dry Needling

One of the best-known uses for needles is to give injections. In this capacity, needles can help medical professionals to prevent illnesses and infections, but needles can also be useful to physical therapists. In fact, a therapy technique called dry needling can offer many benefits if you’ve been injured or you have certain medical conditions.

How does dry needling work?

Dry needling doesn’t use the same needles that syringes do. In fact, the ones used for this therapy technique are much thinner, and most of them are no wider than a fishing line. Such needles are used for a completely different purpose than you might be used to: reducing pain.

This therapy technique is designed to decrease pain by targeting trigger points that have built up in muscles and other soft tissue. Trigger points are places in soft tissue where tension is being stored, and they can make it harder for soft tissue to function, as well as increase the perception of pain and tightness in this area.

Does dry needling hurt?

Most patients don’t feel pain during a dry needling treatment. In some cases, you might feel pressure or a brief pricking sensation when the therapist inserts the needle. Targeting trigger points in muscles also commonly leads to twitching in these muscles, but this response is one way you’ll know the treatment is doing its job.

Soreness in the treated soft tissue is also relatively common after dry needling treatment. However, the soreness should go away fairly quickly. If you do experience pain during or after dry needling, inform your therapist at once.

How can dry needling benefit you?

Therapists use dry needling because it’s designed to provide several important benefits. Most importantly, this treatment technique is intended to decrease pain. Its ability to reduce trigger points can also help restore normal movement to the affected soft tissue. Dry needling can promote improved blood flow to injured soft tissue as well, and this allows the painful tissue to get more oxygen and naturally produce chemicals that speed up the healing process.

What do physical therapists use dry needling for?

Our physical therapists often use dry needling to treat movement problems and injuries, and it’s often combined with other therapy techniques to treat such issues. Some issues therapy specialists use dry needling for include:

  • Neck pain — The soft tissue of the neck is vulnerable to many types of injuries. Car accidents can cause issues like whiplash or injured neck muscles. Playing high-impact sports can lead to similar injuries as well. Trigger points in neck soft tissue can also lead to headaches or jaw pain.
  • Back pain — The back is also prone to developing trigger points. Therapists can use dry needling to help patients relieve tension in back muscles. They can also use it to treat nerve issues like sciatica that are a common source of back pain.
  • Foot and ankle pain — Injuries to the ankle tendons can be treated with dry needling. In addition, therapists can use this technique to help people with Achilles tendon injuries, and trigger points in calf muscles can be reduced using dry needling. Often, such injuries develop in runners and other people who do lots of repetitive leg movements.
  • Headaches — Tension headaches are one of the most common types of head pain, and they can become chronic if left untreated. Stress can trigger frequent tension headaches; they can also be set off by dehydration or neck injuries. In many cases, tension headaches originate in the suboccipital muscles, which connect the cervical spine to the base of the skull. Untreated trigger points in these muscles can lead to regular headaches, but dry needling can help relieve the tension in these muscles. In turn, your headaches could happen less frequently.

Holland Physical Therapy offers effective dry needling therapy

Our Holland Physical Therapy team is ready to help you find out how dry needling can benefit you. We offer free screenings that are designed to pinpoint the source of your symptoms. Our team can also build you a personalized therapy plan to treat many medical conditions and injuries, and your plan will include multiple therapy methods designed to target your issue.

Contact our team today for more information about dry needling or to schedule an initial appointment to start treating your injury or medical condition.