Trigger point dry needling is a special procedure that utilizes a very fine needle or a needle designed for acupuncture. The needle is inserted directly into the skin and the muscle. It targets the myofascial trigger points throughout the body. It is often utilized to help in reducing muscular-based pain. It is referred to as “dry” because of the fact that no fluid is injected into the body. Trigger point dry needling is also referred to as “intramuscular stimulation”. The procedure stimulates the muscles in order to alleviate knots, pain, and spasms. In this guide, you will be introduced to the most frequently asked questions regarding trigger point dry needling.

Trigger Point Dry Needling on Leg

What are Trigger Points in the Body?

A trigger point is a palpable-based nodule, located in the bands of the fascia within a skeletal muscle. It is considered to be a hyperirritable location. These are exceptionally tender. Trigger points are considered to be highly tender when it comes to touch. They have the capability of referring pain to various areas of the body. Affected muscles may result in pain that results in a decrease in the overall range of motion if a trigger point is activated.

Why is Trigger Point Dry Needling Done?

Trigger point dry needling is performed in order to directly treat the muscle tissue. Once performed, the dry needling will result in the inactivation of trigger points. This aids in reducing pain that is being experienced by a patient and restoring complete functioning. In most instances, trigger point dry needling is done in conjunction with physical therapy interventions to ensure optimal success.

How Long Does It Take for Trigger Point Dry Needling to Work for Patients?

For most patients, decreased pain and improvements in mobility are experienced within 24-hours of undergoing a trigger point dry needling session. For other patients, relief is experienced over the course of a 2-3 week period, with sessions being performed at least once a week.

Therapist Performing Dry Needling

What Conditions Does Dry Needling Help With?

There are several medical conditions that patients suffer where relief may be experienced after having a trigger point dry needling procedure performed. These include -but are not limited to -the following:

  • Athletic Overuse of Muscles and/or Injuries
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Chronic Pain
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Hip Pain
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Knee Pain
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Muscle Spasms and Disorders
  • Neck Pain
  • Post-Traumatic Injuries
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries
  • Sciatic Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • TMJ
  • Work-Related Injuries

If you are interested in trigger point dry needling and do not see your condition listed above, talk to your primary care provider or a physical therapist to determine if the procedure is ideal for you. In most instance of muscular pain and discomfort, dry needling is considered to be an ideal treatment.

What are the Benefits of Trigger Point Dry Needling?

There are several unique benefits associated with trigger point dry needling. The following outlines the advantages you will experience in having this procedure performed:

  1. Direct Access – Physical therapists that conduct trigger point dry needling sessions are capable of treating deep layers and other sections of the muscles that are not reachable by the hands.
  2. Faster Relief – This procedure works much faster than massage therapy sessions in relaxing the muscles that are targeted.
  3. No Medications – This procedure does not utilize any type of medication. Therefore, not only are potentially harmful side effects not experienced, but several of the trigger points within the body may be treated at once.
  4. Pain Relief and Tightness Reduction – Dry needling helps to relieve both pain and tightness that is experienced within the muscles. Many that have this procedure performed find that they experience immediate relief.
  5. Improvements in Range of Motion – Patients that have trigger point dry needling performed find that they almost instantly experience improvements in terms of range of motion.
  6. Faster Recovery – Dry needling has been found to be effective in improving the amount of time that it takes to recover. It works very fast to speed up healing.
  7. Cost Effective – The trigger point dry needling process is a very cost-effective solution to treating pain, inflammation, injuries, and other situations. It is significantly cheaper than the use of prescription drugs and/or surgery.
  8. Circulation Improvement – This procedure is very effective in improving the circulation of blood throughout the body.
  9. Oxygen Circulation – In addition to improving the circulation of the blood through the body, dry needling also aids in improving the circulation of oxygen throughout the body -all of which will help optimize the body’s mechanisms for healing.
  10. The Ultimate Treatment Plan – Trigger point dry needling is a procedure that is just one component of a larger, more ultimate treatment plan. It is an essential component to a multi-point technique that includes an analysis of your movements, the issuance of targeted exercises, and several other interventions as outlined by a physical therapist that will allow you to live your absolutely best life.

What is the Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an Eastern medical treatment that emphasizes the energy of the body in overall relation to its meridians. Dry Needling is a Western practice that targets areas within the actual muscles. While both use needles that are much less the same, this is the only comparison that is similar.

trigger point dry needling

Does Trigger Point Dry Needling Hurt?

The needles used in dry needling are very small filament needles. While it is true that many may feel the needle enter the skin, it is typically not an uncomfortable experience. Many people are taken back by the fact that needles are used. The feeling experienced when the needle enters the skin is much less than that of a vaccination needle or the needles used to draw blood from the body. Once the needle reaches the muscle, an instant twitch sensation is likely to occur. A small cramp-like sensation may occur, but it typically lasts between 15 seconds and 30 seconds. There may be mild soreness in the muscle up anywhere from 12 hours to 24 hours. The benefits and relief experienced after a sense far outweigh the mild discomfort that may occur.

How Will I Feel Following a Dry Needling Session?

Immediately following the procedure, you will find that you have a lower level of pain and that your mobility almost instantly improves. Yes, you may experience a minimal amount of soreness; however, it is more common for the muscle pinpointed to have some fatigue. These symptoms may last up to a day. Some patients experience them for up to 2 days. By remaining active, your soreness level will be minimal. You may continue all of the normal activities that you currently engage in.

Is There Research on Dry Needling?

Yes, quite a bit of research has been done regarding dry needling. Nearly all studies have concluded that it is an effective procedure for relieving pain that is mild to moderate, in nature. When compared to placebo-based treatments, the dry needling definitely provided more relief to patients. When combined with a physical therapy treatment plan, it has been found to provide optimal relief for pain sufferers.

What are the Side Effects to Trigger Point Dry Needling?

It is common to experience some mild side effects following a Trigger Point Dry Needing session. Serious side effects are very rare. In most instances, only bruising and light bleeding may occur around the injection site. It is common to experience a small amount of soreness after the procedure, too. You should always ensure that the provider of the procedure uses sterile needles that are disposed immediately following usage. If non-sterile needles are used, serious side effects such as the development of an infection, the contraction of diseases, and the possibility of getting bloodborne illnesses may occur.

What Other Treatments May be Used with Dry Needling for Trigger Point Relief?

There are several different treatments that may be used for trigger point relief with dry needling. These include -but are not limited to -the following:

  1. Exercises that are designed to aid in posture control and optimizing the way that the body moves
  2. Kinesiology-based therapy with taping
  3. Therapeutic-based modalities such as electrical stimulation and ultrasound technology
  4. Massage therapy

How is Trigger Point Therapy Performed?

During trigger point therapy, a physical therapist will press in and hold in trigger points while using a dry needle to stimulate the associated muscles. This stops the circulation on a temporary basis. In turn, a chemical is released – nitric oxide. This chemical signals the body to immediately open up the microcapillaries. Once this is done, the blood flow is instantly increased. This helps the pain.

Let Us Help

We here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy specialize in trigger point dry needling. By allowing us to meet with you, we will be able to create a customized treatment plan that combines dry needling with physical therapy. In turn, you will experience increased mobility, functionality, and reduced pain. To learn more, contact us directly today by calling: 303-832-5577

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