What is Dry Needling?

Now before you get into dry needling, the first thing you need to do is ask: do I really need it?

What is dry needling?

Now before you get into Dry Needling, the first thing you need to do is ask: do I really need it? For some people, they do need it for medical reasons. Others do dry needling because it helps them relax. However, some people don’t due to their fear of needles. But Dry Needling does have some medical benefits which can help people get through their day. But before you do try it, here are some things you need to know when you do dry needling.

What happens when I start dry needling?

When you start dry needling, you need to find a good physical therapist who knows where to stick those needles. As the name implies, needles are involved but not the big ones. Physical therapist use thin filament needles which can prick through your skin without drawing any blood in the long run. Make sure also that those needles are clean; they may have come from another person’s body. And don’t attempt to do this at home either, the only needles people have at home are sewing needles and those hurt.

First, you point out to the physical therapist where the pain is. Then, the physical therapist will start putting needles in the area in order to treat the pain.

Will the pain go away?

The pain will go away but the time varies as to how long it takes before it goes away. For some, they need to see their physical therapist a few times before it goes away. Others, it just needs 24 hours before the pain starts to subside.

However, some forms of pain may not go away in 24 hours. Sometimes, it takes more than 2 days for it to go away. If the pain lasts longer than that then, it’s possible that there’s more damage done than what the dry needling can repair. If that’s the case, you may have to see a specialist for that or have someone perform a diagnostic test to check where the damage really is.

What’s the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?

Process-wise and appearance-wise, dry needling and acupuncture look the same. They both use needles, they both need a well-versed practitioner, and they both focus on certain parts of the body. However, some say what differentiates the two is the purpose as to what each is for.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal art which is supposed to increase a person’s Qi (or commonly spelled as Chi). Chi is a form of energy that people within themselves that some are conscious enough to use. Other times, people just understand Chi as energy that they spend in their everyday life. Some people become so adept in using their Qi they can use it to adjust their bodies to achieve superhuman feats such as moving faster, increasing pain tolerance, increasing their overall strength, and sometimes even heal muscle pains by injecting their Qi into the pressure points which is also known as Acupressure. Well-trained practitioners can also use their Qi to cause damage without inflicting too much physical damage. However, that kind of practice is meant more for martial arts rather than the art of medicine. But acupuncture can also be used to heal muscles but mostly on a nerve level.

Dry Needling, on the other hand, is quite direct. Stick a needle in the area or point of pain. However, the difference is that it focuses on the triggering of the muscle. When the muscle is triggered, it then proceeds to remove the knots which cause the pain to subside. Dry Needling also helps not just in treating neuro-muscular pain but also improving overall movement.

Will my body hurt after dry needling?

Considering that there were some cramps removed then, yes. There will be a good chance that your body will be a bit sore. After all, your body was intervened at a neuromuscular level which may take time to adjust. However, some doctors encourage moving around to help a person compensate with the soreness. Some power walking, light walking, or even a bit of jogging. Though, the kind of exercise recommended by your physical therapist will be dependent where the pain was initially.

Is one treatment of dry needling good enough to make the pain go away?

It’s highly dependent on where the pain is. The more knotted the muscles are, it may also take longer. Some people who have pinched nerves may take longer and may have to see their physical therapists more than once to have the pain go away. However, dry needling may not be the only thing you’ll need to do if you’re suffering from more than one kind of pain. Some muscle pains are caused by a complex weave of things in which dry needling can only cure a few points. Sometimes, there will be chiropractors who will help get your bones loosened up which may also loosen some of the nerves when you have a pinched one.

But if you’re not into Dry Needling or not planning to then, it’s okay. Dry Needling isn’t meant for everybody. But it is good for athletes though if they don’t want to take pain killers. Some painkillers can have detrimental effects on their performance such as affecting their liver. At the same time, this is a more natural way of healing the body. This is more of inducing the body to heal oneself rather than have a chemical means. However, this doesn’t mean it’ll solve all your neuromuscular problems. If the pain gets worse, don’t forget to consult your doctor.


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Furlan, A. D., Van Tulder, M., Cherkin, D., Tsukayama, H., Lao, L., Koes, B., & Berman, B. (2005). Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain: an updated systematic review within the framework of the cochrane collaboration. Spine, 30(8), 944-963.

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