Dry needling may sound scary for people that have fear of needles, but it is a pain-free method for improving acute or chronic painful conditions, providing additional benefits for the full-body physical performance.
Although it bears similarities to acupuncture, dry needling isn’t based on energy flow across body meridians. It is a science-based physiotherapy treatment which uses ultra-thin needles to stimulate trigger points in muscle tissues, provoking their faster healing.
The benefits can be felt almost immediately, in the first 24 hours after treatment. As a general rule, several dry needling treatments spread across 2 or 3 weeks are needed to bring a lasting positive effect. Due to the triggering of your body natural capacity to heal you may feel some temporary pain, discomfort, tiredness, or tingling when you begin treatments. However, the numerous benefits of dry needling by far surpass these passing nuisances. Common dry needling benefits are:
1. Relieves myofascial pain and stiffness.
Fascia is the connective tissue that covers the muscles. Dry needling provides relief to this tissue either in a single muscle or muscle groups and can, therefore, reduce muscular pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
2. Improves flexibility and range of motion.
Dry needles inserted below the skin trigger the healing reaction, which in turn, helps the muscle become more flexible and improve range of motion.
3. Improves blood flow and oxygen circulation.
Tight muscles can cause pain that translates to other body areas. By triggering the healing of key pain points with dry needles, the blood flow and the oxygenation of the whole body improve, muscles relax, which soothes the complete body wellbeing.
4. Releases neurotransmitters.
Thin dry needles stimulate the body response to fight pain by releasing opiate neurotransmitters, such as beta-endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins. Neurotransmitters work by blocking pain information which comes from the inflamed point to reach the brain.
5. Can be applied to a wide range of symptoms.
Dry needling treatments improve the symptoms of a variety of musculoskeletal diseases, including headaches, neck pain, knee or low-back pain, shoulder impingement, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.
6. Eases fibromyalgia pain.
Although fibromyalgia patients typically feel pain all over, the worst pain is located in certain areas around the neck, knees, back, shoulders, and hips. Needles can be placed at the most painful body points to target them specifically and ease symptoms across the body.
7. Comforts both chronic and acute pain.
Unlike many other physiotherapy treatments that require an isolated application, dry needling benefits both acute pain, for example, post-surgical ailments and chronic conditions, for example, sciatica.
8. Targets precise pain points.
The physical therapist specialised in dry needling knows the map of pain points in a persons’ body and targets these areas by placing the needles nearby, after doing an extensive assessment of your muscular condition and finding your tight spots.
9. It can be used alongside other treatments.
Dry needling can be used on its own, as well as a supplemental treatment in a comprehensive physiotherapy plan, thus helping many patients travel faster on the road to recovery.
10. Helps with sports injuries and athletic performance.
Athletes, dancers, and other professionals who expose themselves to prolonged physical strain need relief from what their bodies go through daily. Treating acute pains and microtears arising from overuse, as well as more serious sports injuries can be done with dry needling, helping active professionals maintain stamina and improve performance as they heal.
Don’t be surprised if you feel tired like you’ve had a workout at the gym or another strenuous physical activity after you complete a dry needling session. It is a common consequence which usually goes away after a day or two. The benefits of dry needling will last much longer.