What’s the Deal with Dry Needling? 

Pine forest

If you’ve visited the Progressive Spine and Rehab website lately, you might have noticed our announcement that we offer dry needling. 

Not to be confused with acupuncture, dry needling requires its own training and is administered by physical therapists who have been certified in this specific technique. 

Discover some of the details about dry needling, including the types of issues it is best intended to treat. 

Dry Needling, by Definition

Unlike acupuncture, which has ancient roots in Traditional Chinese medicine, dry needling is fairly new, beginning in the 1940s after Dr. Janet Travell discovered that dry needling proved effective in relieving pain associated with various muscular trigger points and referral patterns. 

The process of dry needling involves a trained and certified practitioner inserting short stainless steel needles into your skin. 

These “filiform needles” are so called because they do not inject fluid; therefore, the technique is known as dry needling. The purpose of these needles is to target trigger points, which are specific spots where the tissue or muscle feels like knots. 

You’ve likely experienced the feeling of “knots” if you’ve ever gone for a deep massage and the massage therapist working on you was able to isolate areas where the muscle felt almost hardened. 

Massaging a knot can feel uncomfortable at first, until it starts to loosen up, providing relief from whatever muscular pain you had been experiencing. With respect to dry needling, instead of your massage therapist, the needle does the work of loosening the knot, thereby alleviating muscle pain. 

Once inside the knot, the needle causes the muscle to contract and then relax, a process that helps maximize blood circulation, which can potentially minimize or inhibit a pain response.

Other goals of dry needling include increasing flexibility and range of motion, as well as helping with stiffness and overall mobility. 

Patients in musculoskeletal distress, which can present as back or shoulder pain, as well as chronic conditions like migraines and tendinitis, could benefit from integrating dry needling into their physical therapy program.

Interested in learning more about our dry needling service? Contact us with questions or to schedule your first session!