If you are seeking a new treatment to treat pain check out the latest research on dry needling. Dry needling is a new treatment designed to treat muscular pain. It involves the use of dry needles to treat trigger points. Dry needling, like other manual therapies such as acupuncture, are very effective at treating muscular pain with minimal side effects, and it can be performed by a trained health professional providing it is used in accordance with clinical guidelines.
How does it work?
It is thought that dry needling works by releasing myofascial adhesions or tight bands within muscles. These adhesions form over time when bands of tissue within muscles develop micro-tears from repetitive strain injuries. This treatment causes these micro-ruptures in the tissues which allow for scar tissue to form which subsequently allows for the muscles to relax and reduces symptoms outlined above. Recommended Read: 7 Natural Remedies for Muscle Soreness and Pain
Research on Dry Needling:
A study published by Beutler et al. in 2008 showed dry needling to have positive effects on symptoms of back and neck pain, as well as increased range of motion.
Another study published by Bohlmeyer et al., in 2009 showed dry needling to be more effective than corticosteroid injections for reducing pain and improving functionality amongst patients with shoulder disorders.
The Treatment In Detail
This is a surprisingly simple technique that requires training for safety reasons and is an option for most people who suffer from musculoskeletal pain. It can be carried out at physiotherapy clinics or by GP’s who are trained in dry needling techniques.
An ultrasound machine should be used prior to this treatment so the needle does not hit any nerves or blood vessels. This practice can be used alone or alongside other treatments such as manipulation, exercise therapy, and massage.
This treatment involves inserting a thin hypodermic needle into muscle tissue in order to release muscle tightness or trigger points which are knots within muscles that cause pain in surrounding areas. The treatment targets abnormal electrical activity or neuromuscular dysfunction where the local peripheral nerves are triggered causing the patient’s symptoms to improve, it also has an analgesic effect on neuralgia which is one of the main causes of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Recommended Read: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Pain Management
Check out a video demonstration below:
This treatment may prove effective for people suffering from various conditions including:
- musculoskeletal pain syndrome/soreness
- hypertonic muscles (muscles that are very hard)
- poor circulation in tissues and organs
- scar tissue
- nerve pain
- whiplash (acute and chronic)
- tendinopathies (tendons that are inflamed)
This treatment is also used as a part of Chinese acupuncture treatment for certain musculoskeletal conditions.
Dry Needling vs Acupuncture
Dry needling and traditional acupuncture both involve the insertion of thin needles, but dry needling is different in several ways. The difference between dry needling and traditional acupuncture is that needles are inserted into points along meridian lines. Ancient Chinese medicine is represented by these lines, which correspond to the organs. Acupuncture is the procedure of stimulating specific points on your body with needles. Often, acupuncture can be used to remove excess energy and restore balance in your tissues.
Acupuncture needles are usually left in for about 15-30 minutes. It is most often used to treat internal ailments, including digestive problems, sleep disorders, stress, and chronic pain.
Modern Western practitioners use dry needling to insert a needle into trigger points or muscle bands; this treatment is new and relatively undeveloped. When needles are inserted into trigger points, they elicit a response that releases the trigger point and restores normal function. Dry needling is a pain relief therapy in which needles are inserted into the muscle to treat cases of chronic and acute pain. The treatment does not use medication, surgical procedures, or other treatments for pain relief.
While dry needling is usually used to treat neuromuscular conditions, it may also help with flexibility, speeding up recovery time, and increasing your range of motion. Although this practice is currently unregulated, safe dry needling methods are expected to be standardized as more research becomes available.