Have you heard people raving about dry needling and wondered what it’s all about? Read on to find out more about this hugely beneficial treatment.
What is dry needling?
In simple terms, your therapist inserts short fine needles into specific areas of the body, which sends messages to the brain to relax. Unlike going for an injection or blood test at the doctor’s, the needle doesn’t inject fluid or take blood, hence the term ‘dry needling.
Is it the same as acupuncture?
Whilst it could be confused with acupuncture; the main difference lies in their histories and philosophies.
Acupuncture utilises the Eastern approach to medicine which believes that energy flows through your body in channels known as meridians. Acupuncture seeks to treat blockages in the energy flow, which has resulted in pain and illness. On the other hand, dry needling utilises the Western, more scientific approach of pain patterns, nerves and biological function.
The benefits of dry needling
Dry needling offers a wealth of benefits relating to a wide range of physical issues, including back, hip, neck and shoulder pain. Let’s look at a few of those benefits in more detail.
Immediate trigger point relief
Your body is an intelligent machine, and when it suffers a long- or short-term injury, a clever defence system kicks in. Muscles jump to the defence and knot or harden around the area to protect and support the damaged area. The downside is that this often creates painful trigger points within the knotted or hardened muscles.
So how do needles help? Dry needling can be the white knight that swoops in to provide immediate relief to those pesky trigger points. By inserting needles into or around the pain source, your clever body sends signals to the brain to jumpstart blood flow to the affected area. As a result, an immediate change in the muscle texture takes place, relaxation occurs, and healing begins.
Relief from muscle pain and stiffness
Everything in your body is linked to something else, meaning those niggly and tender trigger points can, in turn, affect your range of movement, cause stiffness or lead to referred pain in other areas.
Similarly, as your body begins to react to the needle therapy, a chain reaction begins. As a result, when the trigger point and surrounding areas begin to relax, other parts of the body start to benefit. Muscle pain and stiffness that you didn’t even know was related starts to ease as your body heals. And as a result, you may begin to see improvements in flexibility and previous restrictions in range of motion.
Your therapist can treat more areas
When a therapist uses needling as part of your treatment, it means they can treat several areas simultaneously. Whilst needles are working their magic in your upper body, for example, your therapist can be addressing your lower body.
But will it hurt?
Despite the benefits, do you think it sounds a little painful and wondered how needles could make you feel better? Many people worry about the pain. You are, after all, having needles stuck into your body.
Your trigger point may be a tightly wound hub of pain, and in this instance, the needles may result in a little discomfort. But the relief is likely to be instant, and therapists often notice a wave of muscles relaxing and beginning their journey towards recovery.
You may also experience a few side effects such as bruising, bleeding or soreness in the area, but they are all temporary and part of the healing process that your clever body provides.
Dry needling is a wonderful addition to your wellbeing treatment, providing pain relief and a welcome release from aches and stiffness. It can also allow your therapist to treat a broader range of problem areas when used alongside massage.
If you would like to know more, let’s talk needles at your next appointment.