Dry needling is the insertion of thin needles into your soft tissue for intramuscular stimulation. The needles are inserted near, into, and/or around the injured tissue depending on the type of injury to create a small micro-trauma. This micro-trauma is meant to elicit a response from the body.
When needles break the skin and enter the tissue anti-nociceptors (pain blockers) and anti-inflammatory responses are sent to that area. It can also enhance blood circulation to stagnant tissue, which accelerates the rehabilitation process. This is a natural response to injury, but with the use of needles we can create a controlled micro-trauma to help speed up your injury to stagnant/injured tissue.
“Dry needling can also decrease pain by stimulating the peripheral and central nervous system by altering the afferent information going into the system (Mark Verstegen).” This means dry needling can alter the nerve responses from the injured sight back to the brain to decrease pain signals.
Dry needles can also improve range-of-motion (ROM) and motor control of the tissue around the injury site by helping to relieve adhesions, “turn down” tight tissue, or alleviate inflamed tissue. In this case, dry needling can be used for impingements or joint restrictions.
Depending on your injury, different types of dry needling may be used. Different techniques include trigger point needling, intramuscular electrical stimulation (using electric current to create contractions of the muscle), and neuromodulation for some nerve pain.
Things you can expect during and after dry needling: Dry needling by a practiced physician is a safe and effective method for injury rehab. The insertion of the needles, depending on the area, may be a non-event or may be accompanied by minor pain. Keep in mind, we are working with inflamed angry tissue, so some pain is normal. The results of dry needling can take up to 2 days to notice – as we are giving time for your body’s natural chemical, hormonal, and vascular generation responses to occur. In our clinic, we say “don’t judge it on day one or even day two.” It’s day 2 or 3 when you feel the benefits of dry needling, improved ROM and/or decreased pain.
Conditions that Dry Needling can Assist:
Neck Pain, Back Pain, Shoulder Pain, Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, Hip Pain, Sciatica, Heel Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Muscle Strains/Ligament Sprains, Chronic Pains