When you hear the term “dry needling,” it isn’t uncommon for people to immediately think of acupuncture. While it is a treatment that involves needles that are the same size as those used for acupuncture, the two treatments serve different purposes. In today’s post, we will be going over what dry needling is, how it differs from acupuncture, and provide you with some of the incredible benefits of dry needling to see if it is something you are interested in trying out yourself. If you have any questions or would like to set up a dry needling or professional physical therapy appointment, give us a call at Jennifer Klein Physical Therapy & AATB Pilates in Houston today!
Dry Needling: What It Is and What It Does
Dry needling is a safe and effective treatment that involves inserting tiny 0.25 millimeter-sized needles along a client’s trigger points, which are the tight bands of tissue within a muscle. This practice is done to promote the body’s own healing mechanisms to loosen stiff muscles, ease joint pain, improve blood flow, and promote oxygen circulation within the body. This brings results for individuals who are trying to recover faster from injury, are looking to optimize their sports performance, or prevent issues from becoming chronic.
While dry needling may sound intimidating to some, it is always performed safely when you receive the treatment from a professional physical therapist as they must undergo intensive training to become certified in the practice and will already have a vast knowledge of the human body. They will use individually packed, sterile needles for one site only, and very little (if any) bleeding will occur. As for the pain, there may be a slight contraction or twitch within the muscle that causes a brief pain response, and there may be a bit of soreness for a couple of days following. This is totally normal and nothing to worry about.
Dry Needling Vs. Acupuncture
Now that you know more about dry needling, we will briefly go over what acupuncture is so you can get a better idea about how they differ from one another.
Acupuncture also involves tiny 0.25 millimeter-sized needles that are inserted through the skin at strategic points of the body. What makes it different than dry needling, though, is the fact that it comes from traditional Chinese medicine and is used as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — also known as chi or qi — that are believed to flow through pathways in your body (also referred to as meridians). By inserting needles along these meridians, practitioners of acupuncture believe that your energy flow will re-balance. It is also said to be effective in reducing stress and discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions. Dry needling, on the other hand, focuses on the muscle instead of energy/life force.
The Benefits of Dry Needling
Like we briefly went over above, dry needling may provide relief for muscular pain and stiffness, ease joint pain, and improve blood flow and oxygen circulation throughout the body. In addition, dry needling can help improve flexibility and increase range of motion with easing specific trigger points. Many individuals have reported that they were able to perform activities that they weren’t able to do before having dry needling treatment.
Research also shows that dry needling helps with improving pain control, reducing muscle tension, and normalizing dysfunction of the motor and plates, which are the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to the muscles.
Try Dry Needling for Yourself in Houston
If you have been struggling with any issues we went over in today’s post, please do not hesitate to reach out to our professional physical therapist, Jennifer Klein, at Jennifer Klein Physical Therapy & AATB Pilates today. Our team would be more than happy to help you solve your pain and come up with a unique treatment plan that will help to relieve your pain in the shortest amount of time possible.