What is dry needling physical therapy?

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Physical Therapy | 0 comments

If you have begun to delve into the world of physical therapy, you may have heard of a treatment called dry needling. This technique has surged in popularity over recent years due to its effective results and range of applications. However, you may wonder about the specifics of dry needling treatment and how it works with other facets of physical therapy. A “dry needle” is a needle that has no liquid inside. When a physical therapist inserts a dry needle, nothing will enter your tissue except the sterile needle itself. By applying dry needles at certain places such as muscle trigger points, a physical therapist can loosen tight muscles and trigger healing processes. This can lead to benefits like lasting pain relief.

When it comes to pain relief, various physical therapy techniques can be applied including dry needling. This may lead some to wonder: What makes dry needling special? The advantages of dry needling include not only pain relief, but improved healing and flexibility as well. For patients experiencing different musculoskeletal conditions, dry needling could be an ideal treatment. Understanding some of the conditions dry needling is used to treat can help illustrate its breadth.

Conditions dry needling can treat

Dry needling can be highly effective for certain injuries and conditions involving muscle tension. While this list does not include all the conditions dry needling can address, it provides some of the most common situations for dry needling use:

  • Chronic back pain — Do you experience chronic back pain? Dry needling can play a vital role in your treatment. By helping to release tight muscles, dry needling can alleviate pain caused by tension. This can also help reduce stiffness in your back. With dry needling treatments, you can improve spinal mobility. If your discomfort is associated with limited mobility, dry needling may be able to address both symptoms at the same time.
  • Tension headaches — Tension headaches are pains in the head caused by muscle tension around the neck and shoulders. This tension may be a result of trigger points, which are sometimes called muscle knots. Dry needling can be used to target these trigger points and release muscle tension. By relieving tension, dry needling can help reduce the severity and frequency of tension headaches.
  • TMJ disorders — The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is a joint that functions to connect the jaw to the skull. When TMJ dysfunction occurs, it can lead to symptoms such as jaw and neck pain. By targeting the root causes of TMJ dysfunction, dry needling can be a great intervention coupled with other physical therapy treatments.
  • Whiplash — Whiplash and other kinds of neck injury often involve muscle tension and trigger points. Dry needling specializes in these symptoms. Releasing tight muscles with dry needling after an injury can lead to pain relief and improved neck mobility.
  • Rotator cuff tear — The rotator cuff is a complex group of muscles that surround the shoulder joint. These muscles are important for keeping the arm flexible and stable. If you have torn your rotator cuff, rehabilitation is important. During rehabilitative physical therapy, dry needling can be an effective part of your treatment plan. Dry needling functions to stimulate muscles. By triggering healing processes in injured muscles, dry needling can help boost your recovery. The needles can also reduce pain by relieving tension in the affected area.

Physical therapy advantages of dry needling

  • Concentrated pain relief — Dry needling enables physical therapists to precisely target certain parts of the body. This means you can experience localized pain relief in the areas where you need it most. The pain relief offered by dry needling can also help reduce the need for pain medications that often come with undesirable side effects.
  • Improved flexibility — Want to improve your circulation and range of motion? Dry needling can be an excellent option. By releasing trigger points and reducing overall muscle stiffness, dry needling can free up your muscles to move more comfortably. This can also lead to improved joint health and enhanced overall function.
  • Fast results — The effects of dry needling can often be seen within 48 hours. Many patients experience rapid relief, making this a good choice for immediate pain management. Experiencing rapid results does not mean this is only a short-term treatment. In fact, the benefits of dry needling are often long lasting for patients with pain and discomfort.

Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness can help treat your condition with dry needling

Ready to try dry needling? Our skilled team at Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness can help. Each dry needling session is a one-on-one experience with you and a licensed physical therapist who can apply the technique to your specific condition. With our help, you can take the next step toward recovery and lasting wellness.

Contact us at our Burtonsville, Rockville or Largo locations today for more information about dry needling or to schedule an initial dry needling appointment.

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