While many people have now heard of acupuncture as a common type of therapy, most people are still new to the therapy known as dry needling. This therapy, which can be offered in many Denver Physical Therapy office, is a similar type of care that uses very thin needles to trigger muscle points that promote natural healing throughout the body. Compared to the more invasive types of healthcare, such as surgery or medication, many patients prefer dry needling as a safer and more holistic way to treat pain, headaches, poor circulation and other health problems.
But what exactly is dry needling? And how does it work? Here we take a closer look at dry needling and how this unique type of therapy works. We also review who can be treated effectively with this type of care and we answer perhaps the most common question regarding dry needling — is it safe?
What is Dry Needling?
Before we dive into the benefits and common questions regarding this type of therapy, let’s first start with the basics here. What exactly is dry needling? This unique form of therapy is surprisingly common and is even offered in many physical therapy offices across the country. The process is relatively simple. Dry needling uses very thin monofilament needles to penetrate the surface of the skin. This small movement then targets specific muscular trigger points in the body. Some of these common areas tend to include your calf muscles, hamstrings, and the upper trapezius. Dry needling can specifically target “problem areas” throughout the body.
As a result of this action, many patients can experience rapid and lasting pain relief, improved blood flow and circulation throughout the body, and reduced muscle tension. For some patients, dry needling can even work to gradually restore joint mobility and benefit the health of your nervous system. Dry needling, for many patients, is often used in conjunction with other forms of physical therapy and treatment. These can include sports injury recovery or general physical therapy to offer patients a safe and holistic approach to care and recovery.
How does Dry Needling work?
Dry needling is much more than just inserting needles into a patient’s body. Dry needling is an evidence-based treatment method that has become increasingly popular in recent decades. Unlike the treatment of acupuncture, which has been used in traditional Eastern medicine for centuries, dry needling is a much newer type of treatment. Dry needling encourages your body to heal naturally to increase recovery and treat musculoskeletal injuries.
So, how exactly does this treatment work? When the thin needles are inserted into muscle trigger points, this action creates a small lesion that stimulates the body’s natural healing response. This process works to heal damaged or inflamed soft tissue. When the body releases important chemicals in its healing response, patients can experience rapid pain relief, better movement throughout the body, and a faster, much longer-lasting recovery.
Who can be treated with dry needling
At first, you may not be sure if you’re even a solid candidate for dry needling—especially if you’ve never heard of this therapy before. But doctors and physical therapists agree that dry needling can be effective in treating a wide range of different injuries, illnesses and ailments. As a way to relieve pain, improve tissue healing, promote better blood circulation and restore nervous system function, dry needling can do a lot for your body.
Dry needling is usually recommended for patients experiencing one of the following health problems:
- Chronic back pain.
- Neck pain or stiffness.
- Sciatica pain.
- Sports-related injuries, such as tennis elbow.
- Joint injuries or limited mobility.
Is Dry Needling Therapy Safe?
Although at first glance it may seem a bit unusual for a therapist to insert needles into the body, this type of therapy has been practiced successfully for a long time. Doctors and experts primarily agree that dry needling is a safe and holistic form of therapy that can effectively treat various health problems. So yes, if safety concerns kept you from trying dry needling, rest assured that this is nothing to worry about. When you receive dry needling from a licensed therapist, this type of care is safe and effective.
Many first-time patients may be a little hesitant to try dry needling at first due to other concerns, including whether or not it might be painful. While this is a reasonable concern to have as a first-time patient, it is somewhat unfounded. Most new patients note that dry needling is a completely painless experience from start to finish. When the thin needles are first inserted, your muscles may twitch in response, which may lead to slight soreness after the treatment. But most of the time the needles are so thin that they don’t cause any real pain during the therapy. After treatment, patients may experience sore muscles for a day or two, similar to how you would feel after a good workout at the gym.
Conclusion – Is Dry Needling Safe?
If you find that you are experiencing neck pain or stiffness, back pain, limited joint mobility, or even headaches or migraines, dry needling may be an effective treatment option for you. Dry needling can effectively treat a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries and ailments and can get you back to the lifestyle you love.
Using thin monofilament needles, this type of therapy activates multiple muscle trigger points throughout the body. When this happens, the action stimulates the body’s ability to naturally heal itself so you can find relief from pain, recover faster from an injury, and even improve the overall health of your nervous system. As a safe and non-invasive approach to care, many patients prefer this type of treatment over more invasive treatments such as prescription medications or major surgery. In fact, this is why you will see dry needling offered in so many health care facilities, including physical therapy offices. Dry needling is safe, holistic and perhaps most importantly, it is effective.