Dr. Garrett Foland PT, DPT
Fear of Needles? These Little Guys Shouldn't Scare You
Some describe it as feeling like a deep muscle spasm. Others describe it as a heavy, relaxing sensation as they lay quietly after I have carefully guided ultra-fine filament needles into specific trigger points.
These “trigger points” are areas in the soft tissue that have become knotted with pain. It’s been shown that our bodies can develop areas of hypersensitivity and tightness when exposed to repetitive movements, poor posture and even psychological stress. By stimulating these areas with a needle, we can reduce pain and improve the mobility of the tissue.
Dry needling may have an off-putting name, but this treatment is becoming more popular because of its undeniable benefits. People seek dry needling treatment to relieve pain from sports injuries, headaches, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, rotator cuff dysfunction and more.
For people seeking pain relief without popping pills and smelling like IcyHot, dry needling is a great, evidence-based alternative when combined with other hands-on therapies provided by your physical therapists at Kinetix.
Wait...what kind of needles are these?
The tools used for dry needling are sterile, single use, thin filiform needles that are just a fraction of the width of a medical syringe. The needle is so small that patients often don’t feel its penetration through the skin. Rest assured; it feels nothing like getting a shot.
How does it work?
There are two main principles to explain why a needle inserted into a trigger point can relieve pain and restore proper motion.
1: Blood flow: The insertion of the needle brings in a much-needed supply of new blood to deliver fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue being targeted. This new supply of blood also flushes out acidic chemicals and toxic build up that has been stuck within the trigger point. Now that the blood flow is restored to the damaged tissue, it is in an ideal environment to promote proper healing. 2: Endogenous Cannabinoids: To put it simply, the insertion of the needle triggers the central nervous system to initiate the body's own pain-modulating system resulting in a local analgesic effect (pain relief). Research has shown that the addition of electrical stimulation to the needles can double the effect of the opioid response compared to dry needling alone. That’s right, we hook up electric to the needles and it’s awesome! Not all dry needling is created equal!
Are there any dry needling dangers that I need to worry about?
When working with a skilled clinician with proper training, dry needling is a safe treatment with few side effects. By far the most common are muscular soreness that typically last 1-3 days following your treatment and mild bruising. However, this treatment may not be appropriate for patients with an allergy to nickel, abnormal bleeding tendencies, vascular disease and compromised immune systems. During your initial evaluation, we can decide if dry needling is an appropriate treatment option for you.
Does it work on its own?
Dry needling should almost always be done in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Most people receiving dry needling have had muscle dysfunction for months or longer resulting in altered joint mobility, movement compensations and problems in surrounding muscles and tissues. Addressing these other areas of concern can help to prevent the pain from returning. At Kinetix, we use several types of manual therapies as well as exercise instruction to ensure the best outcome is achieved.
Dry needling was discovered by Dr. Janet Travel in the 1940’s when she found that the relief she achieved with a “wet-needle” (one with injectable medicine) when injected into a muscular trigger point was also achieved when using the needle without medicine, also known as a “dry-needle”. Cost:
In some cases, insurance will cover dry needling. If yours doesn’t, don’t fret; we offer affordable rates for your first evaluation and treatment as well as follow up visits. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this treatment and if it is appropriate for you. Call Kinetix at 980-277-2770 or click Request Appointment at the top of the page to get in touch!