1. What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a therapy that uses a thin needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate muscular trigger points or “muscle knots.” Dry needling is an optimal treatment for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement problems. As it has evolved, several various terms for the therapy have emerged. The general term, “dry needling,” includes “intramuscular stimulation,” “functional dry needling (FDN),” and “trigger point therapy.”
2. How did it start?
Dry needle therapy began from the lack of medication or injection involved with “wet” needles. In the early 1900s, researchers wrote about tender muscles causing orthopedic problems. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, they documented typical pain referral patterns coming from muscular trigger points. In 1940, the father of manual medicine, Karel Lewit, MD, DSc., demonstrated how the insertion of a “dry” needle had more therapeutic benefit than the injected medication. Over time, the “dry” hypodermic needle was replaced with a smaller needle that is still used today.
3. Is dry needling like acupuncture?
Dry needle therapy and acupuncture are only similar in one regard: the type of needle used. Acupuncture is an excellent treatment option, which differs from dry needle therapy in its exam, applications, and intended goals. Most often, acupuncture follows traditional Chinese medicine protocols. Acupuncturists will use terms like “chi” or “healing energy” when they go through treatment. Dry needling is specifically used to treat muscle pains, joint problems, or nerve conditions. Dry needle therapy is a great way to address movement problems. Acupuncture is great for things like anxiety, insomnia, and fibromyalgia. Generally speaking, acupuncture is a longer treatment option, lasting between 15 and 30 minutes.
4. Is it safe?
Like any therapy that has an effect, there is a possibility of side effects. About 1 – 10% of people may experience needling insertion pain, sore muscle, fatigue, or bruising. Anyone with a needle phobia, metal allergy, vascular disease, pregnancy, or bleeding disorders should discuss this with their doctor before trying dry needling. Be sure to ask your doctor to about the risks and benefits of dry needling.
5. What can be treated with dry needling?
The majority of nerve, muscle, and joint pains are secondary to a movement problem. Dry needling is an excellent way to improve range of motion and decrease muscle or tendon pain. Dry needling can be incorporated in someone’s treatment plan at Cole Pain Therapy Group for the treatment of headaches, neck pain, back pain, knee pain, arm pain, leg pain, shoulder pain, and any other movement related pain conditions we treat.
Specifically, dry needling does a great job of deactivating trigger points. Trigger points are tender knots in a muscle that can refer pain to other areas of the body. For example, someone with pain traveling down the thigh to the ankle may have a trigger point in their hip that is only painful to deep palpation. The insertion of a needle into this trigger point results in a twitch of the muscle, immediate relaxing of the trigger point, and less symptoms.
In conclusion, dry needling may be a crucial part of your chiropractic care in Memphis. If you would like more information about dry needle therapy or information about adding it with other chiropractic and rehabilitation techniques, please contact us.