Dry Needling Physiotherapy
Do you feel tiny knots under your skin? Do you feel pain when you touch these knots? This may be a trigger point. A trigger point results from sprained muscles due to poor posture and repetitive motions. These points may cause pain and decrease the range of motion. Fortunately, physiotherapists administer treatment like dry needling to relieve these trigger points.
Dry needling sounds painful. However, on the contrary, it is an effective, minimally invasive procedure. Dry needling provides several benefits, including pain relief and improved blood flow. In addition, because only a licensed dry needling physiotherapist in Okotoks administers the treatment, it is safe and effective.
This article explores dry-needling physiotherapy. We also discuss how the technique works, its pros and cons, and who it is suitable for.
What is Dry Needling Physiotherapy?
Dry needling physiotherapy, also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), is a therapeutic procedure that relieves muscular pain and improves the joint range of motion (ROM). This procedure is similar to acupuncture and involves using needles in the myofascial trigger points.
Dry needling is an outpatient procedure often combined with other treatments like massage, heat therapy, stretching, and electrical nerve stimulation to relieve chronic and acute pain.
How Does Dry Needling Work?
Dry needling is an advanced treatment technique that treats pain and releases tension in the myofascial trigger point. Trigger points are like tight muscle fibers that form within the muscles due to injuries or overuse. These points are sensitive and can cause strain and pain in the muscles.
This technique is called “dry” because it does not involve the needles do not contain any medication or solution. Physiotherapists insert dry needles in trigger points to relieve pain. The needles stimulate the nerve fibers, releasing substances that interrupt pain signals. The nerve fibers also initiate a pathway that creates a twitch response.
These fibers then relax from their tightened state to relieve pain.
What Happens During a Dry Needling Treatment?
Before starting the treatment, your physiotherapist will prepare the needle and sterilize the treatment area. Afterward, your provider will feel the area with their fingers to locate the trigger point. After locating the point, they will place the needle over the area. A plastic guide tube around the needle usually guides the provider and increases accuracy.
Using different techniques, your physiotherapist taps the needle into the skin’s top layer. The technique could be superficial, deep, or pistoning. The method used determines how long your physiotherapist will leave the needle.
If you feel twitching or soreness during the treatment, it is a normal sign that your muscles are responding to the treatment.
The number of needles your physiotherapist use for dry needling depends on your condition. For instance, back treatment along the spine may need about 10 to 15 needles.
What Happens After a Dry Needling Treatment?
After your treatment session, your physiotherapist will remove and dispose of the needle and check if you have any skin reactions. You then have to get up slowly. If you experience dizziness, your physiotherapist will request that you sit and rest before leaving.
After your treatment, you may experience muscle soreness for about 24 – 48 hours. During this period, ensure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You should also engage in regular physical activity to speed up healing.
You may have an infection if you experience serious side effects like significant bleeding or shortness of breath. Although this complication is rare, contact your physiotherapist if you experience unusual symptoms.
Is Dry Needling Physio the Same as Acupuncture?
Dry needling physio is similar to yet different from acupuncture. Although both methods use needles, they have different purposes. For instance, acupuncture aims at treating an entire body system. Dry needling, on the other hand, treats a localized trigger point before the pain travels to another part of the body.
Another difference is that dry needling releases muscle tension using strong stimulation. This stimulation can be quite painful for some patients. Acupuncture is based on channel theory and heals the body naturally using points. This technique is not painful.
What are the Benefits of Dry Needling Therapy?
Dry needling therapy provides several benefits, including;
Increased Blood Flow
Trigger points are tight areas that restrict blood flow and oxygen delivery. Consequently, the area suffers pain due to a lack of oxygen.
Dry needling deactivates a trigger point in the muscles, reducing the barrier to blood flow and improving oxygenation. Improved circulation carries away acidic wastes while the muscles receive the nutrients and oxygen necessary for healing.
Puncturing a defective muscle with needles creates minute lesions in the area. The body then causes an inflammatory response in the damaged region. This response is a natural healing process that promotes the formation of collagen and proteins, restoring a muscle’s normal function.
Improved Range of Motion
Tight muscles can be pretty painful, and if you have multiple trigger points, it can limit your mobility. And when the muscles are inactive, they become weak and lose mass.
Dry needling releases trigger points, and with a physiotherapy program, you can rebuild strength and restore your range of motion.
Dry needling alone deactivates trigger points and reduces pain locally. But improving muscle extensibility takes the pressure off the nerves and joints, reducing radicular pain and joint pain.
Dry needling is a minimally invasive treatment, and no medication or injection is involved. The sessions last about 30 minutes and do not require any special preparation. Consequently, there is a faster recovery and less downtime.
What Are Dry Needling Physio Side Effects?
Although dry needling is beneficial for releasing tight muscles and relieving pain, it has side effects. Not all patients experience these side effects, and it is often mild in patients that do. Side effects of dry needling include;
Temporary Pain Increase
The dry needling technique aims at providing pain relief. However, you may feel pain for about 24-48 hours after the treatment. Usually, this pain resolves on its own or with a light massage or stretching of the area.
Discomfort During Sessions
During a dry needling session, you may experience discomfort, especially at the beginning of the treatment. This is because the muscles are tight. However, as they become loose, you experience less pain.
Bruising or Bleeding at the Insertion Site
Bruising or bleeding at the insertion site is rare and depends on your skin type and sensitivity. You may also experience bruising if you have blood vessel problems or are on blood thinners. Nevertheless, bruising is temporary.
You may experience redness at the insertion site, especially if your skin is sensitive. A histamine reaction to the needles may also cause redness. Ensure you discuss your skin sensitivity with your therapist before proceeding with the treatment.
Who Needs Dry Needling Physiotherapy?
Dry needling is effective for several conditions. This technique relieves pain and improves the range of motion. Other conditions that can benefit from dry needling include;
- Temporomandibular pain (TMJ)
- Lower back pain
- Joint pain
- Calf strains
- Muscle strains
- Pelvic pain
- Spinal issues
How Many Sessions of Dry Needling are Necessary?
The number of sessions for a dry needling treatment depends on the condition. For example, some people may need two sessions, while others may need up to six. Nevertheless, before undergoing the procedure, your physiotherapist will discuss with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
How Long Do The Results of Dry Needling Last?
The results of a dry needling session should last several days if it is the initial treatment. However, you can expect the effects to last longer with subsequent treatments. In addition, the timeframe of the results varies from person to person.
Fortunately, you can prolong the results of your dry needling. For example, engaging in physical activity, massaging the area, and using ice or heat to relieve soreness can improve the results of a dry needling treatment.
Increasing your water intake and doing gentle stretches and workout sessions are also essential. Nevertheless, ensure you don’t increase your physical activity beyond normal to prevent muscle strains. It would be best if you also avoided alcohol intake.
Can Everyone Get Dry Needling?
Although dry needling provides several benefits, only some qualify for the treatment. For instance, children under 12 may not be eligible for the treatment. In addition, if you have an immune-system disorder, blood clotting problems, or have just had surgery, you may not be a candidate for dry needling.
Furthermore, if you are pregnant or are afraid of needles, discuss this with your physiotherapist before undergoing the treatment.
Dry Needling In Okotoks, AB
Dry needling can improve your circulation, pain relief, and range of motion. You can get this treatment if you experience trigger points or painful knots under your muscles. However, before undergoing dry needling, your physiotherapist will discuss with you to ascertain your candidacy.
If you qualify, the licensed physiotherapist at Dynamic Physiotherapy in Okotoks, AB, will make you comfortable and relaxed during treatment. As a result, you should feel maximum relief after each session.