Is all Dry Needling the Same?
The short answer is no. Effective treatment with dry needling is highly dependent upon specificity. Therefore, treatment not aimed at the exact source of pain and dysfunction will not provide resolution of symptoms. Additionally, studies have also showed dry needling to be dosage dependent. Therefore, a clinician’s expertise in palpation, proficiency of needle placement, and properly dosing (number of needles and treatment time) treatment are imperative to achieve the most successful outcome.
Benefits of Dry Needling
- Pain relief: Dry needling can provide effective pain relief by targeting and releasing trigger points, reducing muscle tension, and promoting the production of natural pain-relieving substances in the body.
- Improved range of motion: By releasing tight muscles and increasing flexibility, dry needling can help improve your range of motion, allowing you to move more freely and perform daily activities and exercises with greater ease.
- Faster recovery: When used in conjunction with other rehabilitation techniques, dry needling can accelerate the recovery process from injuries and musculoskeletal conditions, helping you get back to your normal activities sooner.
- Holistic approach: Dry needling addresses the underlying muscular issues contributing to pain and dysfunction, offering a holistic approach to treatment that targets the root cause rather than just the symptoms.
What conditions can benefit from Dry Needling?
- Rotator cuff pathology
- Neck and back pain
- Shoulder and hip labral tears
- Frozen shoulder
- Tennis elbow
- Muscle strains
- Plantar fasciitis
- Scar tissue
Have you had Dry Needling before and it was not effective?
This is a common report I have had with many patients, with some people being reluctant to try Dry Needling again, while others have sought out my expertise eager for a better response. Effective Dry Needling is dependent upon a skilled clinician inserting the needle directly into the trigger point. Dry needling is as much of an artform as it is a skill, therefore it is important to have the skill and knowledge to provide the exact and intentional treatment.
How Does Dry Needling Work?
Studies have shown that trigger points have lower oxygen levels, diminished blood flow, decreased pH, altered electrical activity, and increased levels of both neurotransmitters and neurotoxins. Dry Needling that targets these tissues has been shown to provide the following results:
- Restore normal oxygen levels: When trigger points form in muscles, they can restrict blood flow, leading to decreased oxygen levels in the affected area. Dry needling helps increase blood circulation by stimulating the release of vasoactive substances, thereby improving oxygen supply to the tissues and promoting healing.
- Normalize pH: Trigger points are characterized by an acidic environment due to the accumulation of metabolic waste products. Dry needling can help normalize pH levels by increasing blood flow and promoting the removal of waste products, resulting in a more balanced and healthier muscle environment.
- Eliminate Muscle jitter: Trigger points can cause muscles to contract and twitch involuntarily, leading to muscle jitter. By inserting needles into these trigger points, dry needling helps release muscle tension and reduce jittering, allowing the muscles to relax and function properly.
- Neurotransmitter modulation: Dry needling has been found to modulate the release of neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in pain perception and mood regulation, and their modulation through dry needling can contribute to pain relief and an improved sense of well-being.
- Neurotoxin elimination: Chronic muscle tension and the presence of trigger points can contribute to the accumulation of neurotoxins, such as substance P. Dry needling promotes blood circulation, which aids in the elimination of these neurotoxins from the affected area, reducing pain and improving muscle function.
This is a typical patient I see. This patient was 8 weeks following shoulder surgery and had been seeing another clinician. She presented with limited range of motion and mobility.
Her treatment consisted of dry needling and manual treatment techniques directed to improve joint range of motion.
Improved range of motion and mobility are evident following one single session.
By understanding these aspects of dry needling, you can see how it offers a comprehensive approach to pain relief and muscle dysfunction. So, whether you’re an athlete aiming to enhance your athletic performance, an office worker with chronic muscle tension, or someone dealing with musculoskeletal conditions, dry needling may be just what you need to find relief and improve your quality of life. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who specializes in dry needling to determine if it is suitable for your specific condition and to ensure safe and effective treatment. We believe that it is equally important to determine your therapist level of training, years of experience, and institutional certification when considering treatment.