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Everything You Wanted to Know About Dry Needling

May 02, 2023
Dry needling effectively treats some of the most common muscle, ligament, tendon, and joint issues. The procedure involves placing thin needles into the skin to penetrate muscles, connective tissue, and fascia. Read on to learn more.

Dry needling is a minimally invasive therapy that helps treat any number of conditions, including sports injuries, joint pain, and soft tissue pain. The practice involves applying a thin filiform needle at specific trigger points and adhesions to improve circulation and relieve tension. 

Dry needling speeds healing and relieves pain by decreasing uncontrollable muscle and fascial tightness, spasms, and stiffening. After a course of dry needling, you experience greater range of motion and reduced movement dysfunction.

The team at Chiropractic, Rehab, and Sports Injuries of Louisville, led by Michael Young, D.C., recommends dry needling for a number of conditions. Read on to learn more about the benefits of dry needling, what to expect during treatment, and the type of conditions that respond well.

All about dry needling

At Chiropractic, Rehab, and Sports Injuries of Louisville, we offer dry needling to manage neuromusculoskeletal injuries and pain. The treatment also helps us address any movement dysfunction.  

During dry needling, your provider inserts a thin needle through your skin to target trigger points, connective tissue, and adhesions. Trigger points and adhesions are points of muscle and fascia that are bound up. They’re so tight that it limits blood flow to the affected area, causing pain and tenderness. Trigger points can also negatively affect the way you move as you compensate for the pain and tightness. 

Trauma and overtraining are the reasons why people develop trigger points and adhesions. 

At our office, we rely on our great knowledge of skeletal and neuroanatomy. We’re able to identify damaged and sensitive tissues, taut muscles, and trigger points as well as areas of overuse  

Why dry needling works

Dry needling directly stimulates these trigger points and encourages them to release. The needles create a twitch response, or the rapid release of a taut muscle band. When a muscle “twitches,” it means blood flow is being restored to the area.

The procedure speeds healing and relieves pain by decreasing muscle tightness and sensitivity, thus improving joint range of motion. Dry needling can also improve stiffness and other movement dysfunction. 

The dry needling experience

You relax as your provider places the needle into the trigger point. You may experience a mild, dull ache during treatment and for as long as 24 hours after treatment. The immediate “twitch” response can be uncomfortable, but this only lasts a few seconds. The needle remains in place for several minutes even after the initial insertion and twitch reaction.

Drink lots of water, apply heat to sore muscles, and stretch after your session.

Conditions treated with dry needling

Dr. Young recommends dry needling for a number of conditions, including:

  • Low back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Shoulder dysfunction
  • Neck pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hip pain
  • IT band syndrome 
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Muscle strains

Research supports the effectiveness of dry needling for reducing immediate and long-term pain. 

You may need several dry needling sessions before your muscle fully responds and trigger points release. Trigger points sit under deep layers of muscles, so it takes some time to truly be effective.

Find out if your pain condition will benefit from dry needling. Contact Chiropractic, Rehab, and Sports Injuries of Louisville to set up your appointment. Call today, or use the online tool to schedule.