Dry needling is a treatment technique physical therapists use to treat muscle pain and movement problems. It’s often part of a larger pain management plan that includes exercise, stretching and massage. During this procedure, a health care provider inserts needles into your skin to target underlying myofascial trigger points (TrPs). A physical therapist can perform dry needling in a private room or in a curtained-off area of a larger therapy space.
A physical therapist can use this technique for a variety of musculoskeletal problems, including neck or back pain, shoulder or hip pain, wrist injuries, or other chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia or tension headaches. It can also help athletes recover from injuries and reach their performance goals, such as overcoming delayed-onset muscle soreness that can occur after training or competition.
Although the term “dry needling” may sound intimidating, it’s safe and effective. Serious side effects are rare, but if the needle is inserted into your thoracic muscles, it can cause a collapsed lung (pneumothorax), which requires immediate medical attention and further treatment.
Studies have shown that dry needling is effective at immediately decreasing pain and improving muscle strength and mobility. It’s also been shown to reduce or improve dysfunction in skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissue. However, the quality of evidence is low for long-term benefits. It’s important for a health care provider to assess whether you’re a good candidate for this treatment. This will include a physical exam and an interview. dry needling north canton ohio