22 Sep 6 Common Dry Needling Questions
Dry needling is becoming a more common treatment option among athletes and in the world of professional sports, but what is it exactly? How does it work? Does it hurt? Is it safe? Is this just another name for acupuncture? In this article, we answer your top dry needling questions to dispel any misconceptions and to help you better understand if this treatment is for you. Mile High Spine & Pain Center is committed to offering you non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical treatment options for your treatment and recovery needs.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle to stimulate the healing process of soft tissues (muscle “trigger points“, fascia, tendons and ligaments, etc) resulting in pain relief and restoration of healthy physiology. The needle does not contain any injectable solution which is why it is termed “dry” needling. Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.
Is Dry Needling Another Name for Acupuncture?
Dry needling is used for the treatment of muscular pain and myofascial dysfunction. Developed by Dr. Chan Gunn, dry needling – also called intramuscular stimulation (IMS) – is a treatment method that offers relief for overactive muscles and their corresponding trigger points. Although the term “needles” the muscle’s trigger points, no substance is injected. Dry needling is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles, but is not the same as the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique of acupuncture. Since the same filament needles are used in both dry needling and acupuncture, it is understandable while confusion occurs between the two treatment methods, but they are not the same.
How Does Dry Needling Work?
The insertion of the needle into the muscle causes a twitch response in the muscle that stimulates biochemical and mechanical effects. Typically, positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner. The chiropractic physicians at Mile High Spine & Pain Center are very experienced with dry needling and the various techniques needed to increase functionality and reduce pain.
Does Dry Needling Hurt?
One of the most common questions we are asked with dry needling is, “Does it Hurt?” Most patients don’t even feel the needle penetrate the skin because the needle used in treatment is so thin. A healthy muscle will experience very little discomfort when the needle is inserted. Muscles that are sensitive, shortened or that have active trigger points may cause a sensation similar to a muscle cramp called ‘the twitch response’ when the needle is inserted. Dry needling provides relief for patients by deactivating a trigger point and reducing pain.
Is Dry Needling Safe?
Dry needling, when done by an experienced provider, is a safe, non-invasive procedure that provides you a natural treatment option for muscular pain. When you need relief from trigger-point pain, or from soft-tissue injuries, dry needling can give you the results you are looking for without the dangers of more invasive, aggressive therapy options.
How Does Dry Needling Help with Rehabilitation?
The goal of dry needling is to amplify the nervous system response to a stimulus to set in motion the necessary reactions for healing. Neurochemicals, such as Endorphins and Corticosteroids, are released; the immune system brings white blood cells to the injured area, and red blood cells carrying oxygen and nutrients run to the site (inflammatory response). Dry needling relaxes contracted muscles. Much of the pain and dysfunction of a muscle is due to a muscle spasm that needs to stop. Dry needling can eliminate the pain and dysfunction of the trigger point by inhibiting the spasm or causing it to stop entirely.
Free Dry Needling Consultation
If you are suffering from muscle or joint pain, the team at the Mile High Spine & Pain Center can develop a treatment plan for you. They will be able to determine if dry needle therapy is right for you. The Mile High Spine & Pain Center works with patients in the Broomfield and Westminster areas, and accepts most insurance plans. Call today at (720) 507-0080 to schedule your free consultation.