How Does Dry Needling Work?

Dry needling

Dry needling is a treatment that uses thin needles to release muscle tension, relieve pain, and restore function. Although they may appear similar, dry needling is not the same as acupuncture. Both treatments use needles, but the training and techniques are different. Dry needling is a science-based treatment for pain and musculoskeletal dysfunction.

How does it work?

Dry needling is a safe and effective treatment performed by chiropractors, medical doctors, and physical therapists with minimal discomfort for the patient.

The therapist or physician inserts sterile, disposable needles into or around trigger points in the muscles. These trigger points are diagnosed before treatment.

Commonly referred to as a “muscle knot”, a trigger point is a tight band in a muscle fiber that can cause pain, restrict range of motion, and disrupt normal function. There may be several trigger points within an area, and they can get worse over time if left untreated.

Treatments are not typically painful. The needles used during dry needling are very thin — they are eight times smaller than needles used for shots and vaccines. These solid needles do not inject fluid; they instead stimulate muscle tissues.

How deep the needle is placed and how long the needle stays in place depends on what type of pain is being treated. Needles may stay inserted in the tissue for a matter of seconds or minutes.

Why would you try dry needling?

This technique helps relieve myofascial pain (pain in connective tissue, or fascia), or muscle pain, and treats a range of musculoskeletal issues.

Dry needling treatments help reduce local tension in the tissue, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow to the area. This in turn reduces muscle pain and spasms, promotes proper function, corrects movement impairments, and restores range of motion.

It offers a drug-free option to treat and manage pain. In some cases, it may provide a nonsurgical treatment option for those who want to explore other options before undergoing surgery.

Here are a few of the conditions that can be treated with dry needling:

  • headaches
  • knee pain
  • shoulder pain
  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • arthritis
  • tendonitis
  • athletic injuries
  • muscle tightness
  • sciatica
  • muscle spasms
  • IT band syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • overuse and repetitive motion injuries

Dry needling doesn’t look the same for everyone; treatment depends on the specific individual. Treatments can provide immediate relief, but it may take 24-48 hours for you to notice improvement in your symptoms. Some may need just one session for acute pain. However, treating chronic pain may take several sessions.

Millennium Chiropractic offers dry needling in Northwest Arkansas. Call 479-571-8400 to request an appointment or to learn more.