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Dry Needling- On Point Answers for Frequently Asked Questions


When one thinks of dry needling often sharp points, pain, and bad experiences with needles come to mind. Dry needling may sound scary to some, but for most it is a wonderful modality that can help speed up recovery in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Below you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions about dry needling and their answers. Comment below if you have any further questions or call Pure Health Inc. at (440)-565-7056 for more information or to schedule an appointment for dry needling.


What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a modality used to treat myofascial pain and mobility impairments. The procedure is performed by practitioners, usual chiropractors or physical therapists, certified in the modality. Dry needling uses “dry” needles or acupuncture needles. A “wet” needle has a hollow center that can be used for injections. The procedure is called dry needling

because the concept was first introduced into Western medicine using wet needles to inject an analgesic into trigger points before it was discovered that the needle itself was causing the therapeutic benefit rather than the injection.


Is Dry Needling the Same as Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and dry needling are not the same. Acupuncture is a practice based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and is performed by trained acupuncturists. Though dry needling has its roots in acupuncture and uses acupuncture needles, the treatment techniques differ greatly. While acupuncture requires specific points throughout the body to be stimulated for specific effects, dry needling requires the needles to be inserted into the muscle belly of tight muscles, scar tissue, or trigger points. Acupuncture focuses on moving the flow of energy or Chi to help improve the body’s function. Dry needling focuses on releasing or inactivating trigger points to reduce pain and increase movement.


How Can Dry Needling Help Me?

Dry needling can be used to treat dysfunctions in skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissue, reduce constant peripheral nociceptive input (unpleasant nerve signals), and diminish or restore disabilities of body structure and function. Dry needling can also get into tissue that is difficult to reach with other traditional manual therapy techniques. In short, dry needling can help stimulate tissue to help speed up recovery, reduce pain, and restore movement.


What Conditions Can be Helped with Dry Needling?

Muscle pain, general pain, reduced/abnormal movement patterns, scar tissue, radiculopathies, joint dysfunctions, disc pathologies, tendonitis, tension-type headaches, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash disorders, plantar fasciitis, golfer’s/tennis elbow etc. can all be helped with dry needling.


What Should I Expect Following the Procedure?

Following the dry needling procedure, it is not uncommon to feel sore or worse in the area that was treated. This soreness is often described as the soreness one feels after an intense workout at the gym and usually lasts 24-48 hours. Bruising is also common after treatment and should not be cause for concern. Some may also feel tired, nauseous, emotional, giggly or “loopy”, and/or somewhat out of it following the procedure. It is important to note that not everyone experiences these symptoms following the procedure. Feeling increased range of motion, less muscle tightness, fewer aches, and/or reduced pain immediately following dry needling is also common.


Does Dry Needling Hurt?

Many describe feeling a small pinch when the needle is inserted, but most do not describe high levels of pain because the needle diameter is so small (typically .25-.30mm). The procedure is also much more comfortable when the muscle being treated is relaxed and not braced in tension. Typically, when performed correctly, dry needling involves moderate to no pain during the procedure depending on the severity of the condition being treated, relaxation state of the patient, and the pain threshold of the individual being treated.


Is Dry Needling Safe?

Dry needling is safe for most people, but it is contraindicated in some individuals. Those with clotting disorders, infections, or people taking certain medications commonly known as blood thinners should not undergo dry needling therapy. Dry needling should also not be used on individuals who fear needles. When administered correctly dry needling is a very safe and effective modality for musculoskeletal conditions. Be sure to ask your doctor if dry needling is right for you as not all contraindications were listed above. You may also consult your doctor if you have more questions or need further details about the potential risks.


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