Dry needling for muscle pain

Patients who experience muscle strains, back pain, neck pain or chronic soreness in their muscles may find relief in a hands-on approach. Dry needling uses a “dry” needle, (meaning one not capable of giving injections) to relieve muscle pain or soreness. It uses thin, solid needles with rounded tips inserted into sore or sensitive tissues.

The extent of treatment varies from patient to patient. Physical therapists will decide how long the needles should stay inserted based on the depth of the tissue and the patient’s treatment goals.

Needles could remain in the tissue for a few seconds to 15 minutes. Sometimes providers will use electrical stimulation to help the muscles relax during treatment. Typically, physical therapists will have patients exercise after they remove the needles. Dry needling is never a complete treatment by itself but is usually part of a broader pain relief plan.

Physical therapists use dry needling to treat a variety of conditions. Most often, it treats pain or helps a patient recover after a competition or rigorous training. Dry needling helps a patient’s muscles relax and work more efficiently.

The most common side effect of treatment is soreness that can last for up to three days.

Dry needling is different from acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine. Dry needling is a part of modern western medicine. The only similarity between the two techniques is the use of a needle.

Patients should not  pursue dry needling treatment if they are pregnant, recently had surgery, are afraid of needles or are on blood thinners.

Talk to a Sanford POWER sports physical therapist in your area to see if dry needling could relieve your enduring muscle pain.