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Ask the Experts
Dry Needling sounds intimidating. You must have heard of Dry Needling and wondered what it is exactly or if it’s something that may be right for you.
Well, the name is no doubt intimidating, but the procedure is safe as well as minimally discomforting. It is an effective technique for patients with certain musculoskeletal presentations.
As the intent of Dry needling is to improve your quality of life, so be sure that you begin treatment knowing what it can and cannot do.
What is Dry Needling
Dry Needling is a modern treatment for easing muscular pain. Trained and skilled physical therapists perform this procedure. During this procedure, the practitioner inserts several filiform needles into your skin. Filiform needles are fine, short, stainless steel needles. The filiform needles which do not inject fluid into the body, thereby giving the name “Dry Needling”. These monofilament needles penetrate the skin and treat underlying muscular trigger points. These muscular trigger points are controlled for neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.
Trigger Points in Dry Needling
A trigger point is a tight band or local contracture in a muscle fiber. These trigger points can disrupt the function and mobility. They can also restrict your range of motion, refer pain or cause local tenderness.
On application of Dry Needling to such a dysfunctional muscle or trigger point, it increases blood flow. It also reduces banding or tightness as well as local and referred pain. It is also known as intramuscular stimulation. The trigger points are the areas of hard or knotted muscle. In the process, the needle assists in releasing the knot and relieves muscle spasms or pain.
Types of Dry Needling
The two major types of needling methods are in and out method and non-trigger point method.
During the in and out method, the practitioner inserts a filiform needle into a trigger point and removes it immediately. In non-trigger points method, the practitioner inserts needles into the surrounding muscle.
1 Trigger Point Dry Needling
This method treats the pain caused by active trigger points. Trigger points are sensitive areas in your muscle that form after injuries or abuse. They produce pain locally and lead to chronic musculoskeletal disorders. This is an effective method for neck pain and headaches. The size of the needle depends on muscle under treatment, physical build and other anatomical risk factors.
2 Superficial Dry Needling
In this technique, the insertion of a needle is only a few millimeters into the skin. Superficial dry needling targets the sensorimotor system. It aims to change the sensory input to alter the motor output as well.
Short needles ranging from 0.3mm to 10mm in length are usually used. These are used when working with delicate areas like the thoracic spine. The main reason for this is that inserting a needle too deep may cause other injuries.
3 Deep Dry Needling
This higher-skilled method targets the muscle directly. Deep dry needling is an invasive procedure in which the needle is inserted into the skin and muscle.
4 Periosteal Pecking
This method involves the use of a dry needle to “peck” at the bone to trigger neuroendocrine responses. This can be particularly effective in treating painful osteoarthritis symptoms. Since the aim is to reach the bone, needles used in this method are often long enough to get close to it.
Benefits of Dry Needling Therapy
1. Relieve Pain and Muscle Tightness
Dry Needling targets the trigger points and is gaining popularity as a technique for pain management. It is an effective way to reduce pain in specific areas. If you are suffering from shoulder or neck pain, the therapist will insert needles into detected trigger points. The needles will release inflammation, tension, and pressure in the muscles that were causing the pain. The results will lead to immediate pain relief and an improved range of motions.
2. Improved Range of Motion
As you know, Dry Needling relieves pressure and tension in your trigger points. This process helps improve the movement of your injury. For an athlete who is constantly moving, having fluid movement and having a full range of motion is key to his success.
Say for a baseball player, to successfully throw a baseball, he needs to have a full range of motion in his shoulder. When you are throwing a baseball, your shoulders are in tension. It is important for you to relax your muscles and reduce tightness. Dry Needling can help reduce this pain and improve the functioning of your shoulder. As a result, you do not feel constant discomfort in your shoulder area.
3. Speeds Up Recovery
After an injury, the worst and longest part is the recovery process. You can experience quicker pain relief and improved range of motion in your injured area with Dry Needling. This is the best part of Dry Needling therapy as it speeds up your healing process compared to other treatment options.
Dry Needling is Not Acupuncture
Dry Needling originated from clinical observations while treating trigger points using injections. Evidence has shown that release of triggers is dependent on accurate needling and not on the substance injected.
In the nineties, the concept of trigger point therapy gained traction. Since then, the method has developed in leaps and bounds. Today, Dry Needling is globally accepted as a successful technique for pain management.
Acupuncture has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, whereas dry needling is from Western medicine. Dry needling has gained from evaluation of pain patterns and posture. It also takes data from movement impairments, function and orthopedic tests. Both of these practices have some similarities. Both of them claim to provide therapeutic relief from pain. But, they are both different methods and there should not be any confusion.
Acupuncture has been in practice for centuries, and it is now well regulated. The primary philosophy in acupuncture says that body healing takes place on the release of chi, or healing energy.
Dry Needling developed more recently, and there are no official guidelines. The pain management procedure relieves tightness and pain in your muscles. A needle inserted into a knot or pressure point releases tension in your surrounding muscle.
Dry Needling procedure uses thin disposable acupuncture needles. The two techniques are quite different. The first step involves the identification of trigger points in the muscle tissues. Then the treatment of your trigger points commences by Dry Needling. The concept is different from acupuncture treatment.
Side Effects from Dry Needling
Most of the adverse effects following the dry needling procedure have been minor. They include:
- Soreness during or after the treatment
- Bleeding at the place where the needle was injected in
There can be rare side effects due to improper needle insertion, like major organ puncture. You can get pneumothorax or collapsed lung due to puncturing of the lung through needle insertion in the chest.
Why Choose US? REPC Dubai
You may have heard of a treatment called Dry Needling. You must have wondered what exactly it is or if it’s something that may be right for you. At REPC Dubai, we genuinely care about our clients and believe in a collaborative approach.
The procedure is minimally discomforting and is an effective technique for pain management. At REPC Dubai, we have a team of skilled, trained physical therapists with expertise. They are well trained and experienced in easing your trigger points. This would increase your range of motion. Call or book an online appointment today.
Dry Needling is not only about sticking a needle into your skin and magically making you feel better. There is science involved in the process. Needling initiates a process of physiological mechanisms that change the structure of your injured and inflamed soft tissue. In simple terms, it replaces injured tissue with fresh tissue of the same type.
Overall, the needling effective encourages your body to fix the injury and reduce the pain by naturally healing itself. Interestingly there are no medicines being injected and the entire procedure is painless.
With Dry Needling you can notice mild side effects but serious side effects are rarely noticed. The most common side effects around the injection site include bleeding, bruising and temporary soreness.
In a scenario where non-sterile needles are used, you might be at risk for contracting bloodborne infection, illnesses, and diseases. Check with your therapist and make sure they use sterile needles and disposes of them after each use.
Dry needling is a very safe treatment. It is fast gaining support and is becoming a part of mainstream medicine because of its pain relief effects. In clinics today, clinicians use a ‘clean’ technique, and only individually packaged, single use, sterile needles are used. The needles used in the procedure are very fine, about 0.16 to 0.30mm and hence very rarely does any bruising or bleeding occur at the insertion site.
Any patient who is considering Dry Needling should consult his or her doctor first. This is particularly true for people taking blood thinners and people who are only recently recovering from surgery. Especially pregnant women and people who are very afraid of needles should not opt for Dry Needling.
At REPC Dubai, we aim to give you the best treatment and best results. This means we make sure your side effects are mild.
However if you do face symptoms, they can be :
- There will be consistent redness
- This can last for months if not treated properly
- You will be facing temporary darkening of the skin
- There are also chances where you will have scarring
We ensure you will be getting the best of treatment. However you get effective results if you closely follow our skin experts advice on how to attain results that stay for long.
In order to see good and effective results in the long run, you can repeat the treatments.
This helps in the long run when you take on mild and medium chemical peels however when it comes to deep peels, you need to do it just once.