What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a therapeutic technique used by podiatrists that involves inserting thin needles into the skin and underlying tissues, such as muscles, fascia, or tendons, without injecting any substance. It commonly treats musculoskeletal conditions, including muscle pain, trigger points, and myofascial pain syndrome.
The procedure is called "dry needling" because the needles used are lovely and do not contain any medication or liquid. Dry needling aims to stimulate specific trigger points or areas of muscle tightness to relieve pain, improve the range of motion, and promote healing.
During a dry needling session, a trained healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or chiropractor, inserts the needle into the targeted area. The hand may be manipulated or moved to reach deep tissues or specific trigger points. This process can cause a local twitch response, which is an involuntary contraction of the muscle. The twitch response helps release tension in the muscle and alleviate pain.
Dry needling is often part of a comprehensive treatment plan for chronic pain, sports injuries, or musculoskeletal disorders. It is important to note that dry needling differs from acupuncture, although both techniques involve using thin needles. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine principles and aims to balance the body's energy flow, while dry needling targets specific muscular trigger points.
How does dry needling work?
Dry needling targets trigger points, also known as myofascial trigger points, which are tight knots or bands of muscle fibers that can cause pain and restricted movement. These trigger points can develop due to muscle overuse, injury, or stress.
When a thin needle is inserted into a trigger point during dry needling, several physiological responses occur:
- Muscle Stimulation: The needle stimulates the sensory nerves within the muscle, which can result in a local twitch response. This twitch response is an involuntary contraction of the muscle fibers, and it helps release tension and restore normal muscle function.
- Pain Modulation: Inserting the needle into the trigger point can cause temporary discomfort or a dull ache. However, it can also lead to the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals. Endorphins help reduce pain sensations and promote a sense of well-being.
- Increased Blood Flow: The needle insertion can cause a local increase in blood flow to the targeted area. This improved circulation brings oxygen, nutrients, and healing factors to the muscle tissues, promoting tissue repair and reducing inflammation.
- Resetting Neural Pathways: Dry needling can influence the nervous system by stimulating sensory receptors and altering pain signaling. It can help interrupt the pain cycle, reduce muscle guarding, and restore normal neuromuscular function.
Dry needling aims to alleviate muscle pain, improve flexibility and range of motion, and restore proper muscle function by targeting and releasing trigger points. It is often used with other therapies, such as exercise, stretching, and manual therapy, to optimize the overall treatment outcome.
It's important to note that the exact mechanisms of how dry needling works are still being studied, and individual responses to the technique can vary. Therefore, consulting with a qualified healthcare professional who can evaluate your specific condition and provide appropriate dry-needling treatment is crucial.
What does dry needling do?
Dry needling is a therapeutic technique that aims to achieve several beneficial effects:
- Pain Relief: One of the primary goals of dry needling is alleviating pain. Targeting trigger points and releasing muscle tension can help reduce muscle pain and discomfort. Inserting the needle can also stimulate the release of endorphins, natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body.
- Muscle Relaxation: Dry needling can help relax tight muscles and reduce muscle spasms. The twitch response elicited by the needle insertion helps release tension and promotes muscle relaxation. This can improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and restore normal muscle function.
- Improved Range of Motion: Muscles with trigger points or tight bands can restrict joint movement and limit range of motion. By addressing these muscular restrictions, dry needling can enhance joint mobility and increase the range of motion in the affected area.
- Enhanced Healing Response: The microtrauma caused by needle insertion during dry needling stimulates the body's natural healing mechanisms. It promotes increased blood flow to the area, bringing oxygen, nutrients, and healing factors to the muscle tissues. This can accelerate tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and support healing.
- Complementary Treatment: Dry needling is often part of a comprehensive treatment plan for various musculoskeletal conditions. It can complement other therapies such as exercise, stretching, manual therapy, and rehabilitation. By combining different modalities, dry needling can enhance the effectiveness of overall treatment and optimize outcomes.
Pain that dry needling can relieve
Dry needling can manage and treat common lower limb issues such as:
So if you are suffering from any of the above conditions/issues, Book Step Relief Podiatry now.