Dry needling is a technique that has been used for centuries to treat various pain conditions. It is a form of acupuncture that uses very small needles to stimulate certain points on the body. The needles are inserted into the skin and then moved around until they reach the target area. There are many benefits to dry needling, but there are also some cons associated with it. So, let take a dig into the the pros and cons of dry needling.
How does dry needling work?
Dry needling is a traditional Chinese medical treatment that involves using thin needles to stimulate acupuncture points on the body. The goal of dry needling is to relieve pain and inflammation, and some people believe it can also improve the function of damaged muscles. There are both pros and cons to dry needling, so it’s important to understand what works best for each individual.
The Working :
The primary mechanism by which dry needling reduces pain is through the release of opioids, which then stimulates blood flow to promote healing, relaxation, and anti-inflammation. The activated opioid receptors, therefore, are part of the endogenous opioid system, which is the body’s internal pain-control system. Basically, a needling specialist examines the area and locates myofascial trigger points, which are particular muscular regions. When stimulated with a needle by the expert, these points produce a local twitch response, which activates endogenous opioids, which block pain. The other working principle of dry needling is the stimulation of blood flow. Minor trauma to the muscle areas activates the body’s receptors, signaling that assistance is required. The body then responds by sending oxygen-carrying blood to the affected area.
The pros of dry needling
Since discovered in the 40’s by Dr. Janet Travell, dry needling therapy offers several benefits today. The treatment helps in reducing pain, tension and stress in the muscles. It can also be used as a fast relief aid in certain injuries. Patients who struggle to fall asleep due to restless legs syndrome also benefit from dry needling therapy.
- Immediate Pain relief: Dry needling aids in reducing pain and discomfort. The pain improves as the muscle knots are released and blood flow improves. The enhanced blood flow results in better oxygen circulation within the body and faster healing.
- Regain Movement and Stiffness relief: Dry needling is used by physical therapists to relieve muscle tension, ease shoulder pain and swelling, and accelerate healing. So, to increase range of motion that might be restricted by tight muscles or scar tissue, dry needling is used. This Physical therapy deactivates trigger points, which can help muscles function properly again, relieve inflammation, and increase mobility. This practice is frequently used to treat neck, back, and knee pain and also help with TMJ or tension headaches.
- Fast Recovery after sports injury: Dry needling can be used in sports recovery not only for pain control after injury, but also for regular recovery, such as in muscle soreness that occurs slowly. It is a very successful approach for resuming activity after a sports injury, which is the reason it is common between several sports physical therapists and athletes alike. Numerous case reports describe the use of acupuncture and dry needling to treat athletes with a range of diagnoses and conditions.
- Relief in Chronic Pain: Dry needling can help patients with orthopedic tension, pain, and movement issues. Chronic pain and symptoms brought on by a number of different conditions, such as arthritis, have been successfully treated with it. The drug-free method targets trigger points that form within stressed muscles of the shoulder, neck, heel, hip, and back. In addition, the prick feeling can invoke nerve cells in the brain that cause pain relieving hormones called endorphins by the body.
The risks and side effects of dry needling
In general, dry needling is a safe procedure. The majority of negative consequences have been mild like –
- Pain and swelling during or following therapies
- Bleeding at the site of the needle insertion
- Fatigue after the therapy
Only licensed, knowledgeable physical therapists who are certified in dry needling should be consulted. In rare cases, improper needle insertion during physical therapy can cause organ damage.
Who should not try dry needling ?
Any patient who is thinking about getting dry needling should first speak with their doctor. People who use blood thinners and those who have recently undergone surgery should be especially aware of this. The method should not be applied on :
- Women who are pregnant
- People who are unable to fully understand the treatment
- Individuals who are extremely afraid of needles
Tips for safe and effective use of dry needling.
A dry needling session requires no special preparation. After their couple of sessions, many individuals notice experiencing immediate symptom relief. After dry needling, it is best to avoid exercise. However, moderate walking can aid in increase blood circulation and fast recovery. Moreover, applying heat or alternating between ice and heat can be helpful if muscle soreness is extreme.
First, it’s important to understand that dry needling doesn’t work for everyone. It can be helpful for people who have chronic pain, but it’s not always effective. Second, there are some potential side effects associated with dry needling, including pain relief and minor bleeding. Finally, Dry Needling isn’t a cure-all – in fact, it may only help reduce your symptoms by 50%. So after evaluating the pros and cons of dry needling, if you decide to try this type of acupuncture, be sure to discuss your options with your doctor first.