Dry needling therapy is a technique that specially certified therapists use to insert a fine needle into the skin and muscle to address specific joint pain, muscle pain and tendon pain. Dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension and accelerates return to a strong, pain free lifestyle. Many patients see improvement after just a few treatments.
How does dry needling work?
The needle inserted into the muscle creates a mechanical stimulation of the muscle which produces a twitch response from muscle fibers. This stimulation reduces the muscle activity, which in turn relaxes the muscle and decreases the pain and dysfunction because the compression on the joint, nerve and vascular tissue has been removed. Dry needling studies have also shown that inserting needles into trigger points cause biochemical changes which alleviate pain.
It is important to note that although dry needling and acupuncture seem similar, they are not the same technique. Dry needling uses an anatomical approach to evaluate the bones, joints, connective tissue and muscle to guide where the needle is placed.
Who is a good candidate for dry needling?
Individuals who experience joint pain, muscle pain or tendon pain could benefit from dry needling. Regardless of how long symptoms have been present, dry needling can benefit people who experience:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder impingement
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee pain
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Low back pain
- Hip pain
Talk to Your Provider
If you believe you could benefit from dry needling or other physical therapy services, talk with your primary care provider or specialty doctor about a referral.
Dry needling is available as part of a comprehensive physical therapy treatment. Your individualized therapy program will integrate dry needling and other traditional therapy methods at the recommendation of your physical therapist.
For more information, call UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital Westmark Outpatient Rehab Services at (563) 557-9955.