Dealing with Aches and Pains?
- January , 2021
- SPF Team
Many people are hearing about the hot new intervention, dry needling, for treating dysfunction or pain of the musculoskeletal system. Dry needling has officially been around for decades, but the frequency of its use has taken off in the 21st century. Most would agree the term “dry” needling was coined in 1979 after a study was done to compare “wet” needles (needles with substances to be injected) to “dry” needles (needles only). However, like mentioned before, it’s popularity has grown rapidly in more recent years.
Why is dry needling or DN becoming so popular so quickly now? The answer is simple, because IT WORKS and involves minimal risk. Dry needling uses tiny needles often smaller than a millimeter in width to target trigger points A.K.A tight muscle knots in the body. The entire treatment usually takes around 30minutes to complete. Many people wonder does it hurt? The answer is “it depends” as the feeling can definitely be uncomfortable when the area that will benefit from DN get needled; but just know it is definitely worth it. The basic steps to expect are this:
1) Your healthcare provider who is going to perform the DN on you will ask you some questions and perform some hands-on tests to make sure you are a good candidate for Dry Needling.
2) Next they will have you positioned on the table so that they can insert the needle into areas they identified with trigger points or tight muscles.
3) When the needle is inserted, it is sometimes not even felt or noticed. However, when the needle moves deeper and closer to the impaired tissues this is where it tends to cause discomfort. At some points there may be some spontaneous muscle twitches. Recent studies suggest that when the muscle twitches are elicited, it may lead to a more effective outcome for that DN treatment session.
4) There are different techniques to DN, but many healthcare practitioners will let the needles sit for 5-10 minutes. This generally doesn’t hurt when the needle isn’t moving and can actually be relaxing as you feel muscles relaxing in areas surrounding the needle.
5) Following removal of the needles, it’s not uncommon to still feel like there may be needles in you but your healthcare practitioner will assure you there is not prior to having you get off of the table. They will then remind you of the risks and things to be aware of when going home. Reminders likely to be included would be to increase hydration (which also helps reduce soreness in areas needled), avoid intense activity for 24hrs, and watching for other concerning symptoms such as shortness of breath if you were needled anywhere near the lungs.
6) If you have a lower body part done you will be able to walk out of the clinic without much issue but will likely feel soreness to the degree of if you did a workout for the muscles that got needled. For the next 24-72 hours you will steadily feel less sore and typically people will report feeling significant improvements in their pain around the 24 hour mark.
If there is someone you know who has tried Dry Needling, talk to them. There’s a real good chance that even if they hate going through the procedure they are in love with the results.