What is Dry Needling?
At first glance, the process of this therapy and acupuncture look interchangeable. They both involve needles inserted in the skin. However, there are a few differences. Dry needling is a modern treatment with no ties, in principle to acupuncture. It focuses on pain reduction and improving muscle function. On the other hand, acupuncture traces its origin to ancient Eastern cultures. Its objective is to restore the smooth flow of Qi through the body. Dry needling was developed by Dr. Janet Travell in the 1940s. She mapped out the muscular trigger points and referral patterns that guide practitioners today. Several physicians later on contributed to streamlining the process and science behind this treatment. One studied homeostatic points. Another worked in pain science. Ultimately, all these experts helped develop a multi-modal treatment process.
How does it work?
In this treatment, a fine filament needle is inserted into a myofascial trigger point, also known as a knot in the muscle. The needles remain in the skin for a brief period. They work to release the knot in the muscle to relieve pain and spasm. By releasing the myofascial trigger points, the needles restore the muscle’s ability to lengthen and shorten. They trigger the muscles to relax. In turn, it provides fresh oxygen and nutrients to the area, and flushes away any additional acidic chemicals.
What can you expect from a session?
A practitioner may begin a session by analysing your movements. They may do an orthopaedic evaluation, too. Additionally, they may do a thorough neurological workup. During treatment, you may feel twitches that may come with a little pain like a cramp, but only for a few seconds. This is your muscles' response to the needle touching a trigger point. Your taut muscle is released, its tightness removed. Therefore, a twitch may mean that the treatment is working. Some people have reported feeling energised after a treatment. Others have said they felt fatigued or emotional. These feelings are normal. They will probably stay with you for up to an hour after treatment. It is also usual to feel a dull ache during treatment and even a day after. Your muscles could feel sore afterwards, as well. Also, you may find some bruises. To ease this effect, drink a lot of water. Do daily stretching exercises. You could also apply a warm compress to the aching muscles.
Which conditions can dry needling help ease?
Dry needling can also help improve health and wellness.