If you experience pain, including back pain and migraines, or have been injured, your doctor may have discussed dry needling with you. Although you are probably familiar with physical therapy and have received exercises and stretches from your doctor as part of your treatment plan, you may be unsure about dry needling. Therefore, these are some things you should know.

What Is it?

Dry needling Lincoln Square is often performed by physical therapists and those in the chiropractic field. Its focus is healing or alleviating neuromusculoskeletal injuries, movement challenges and pain. Dry needling is not acupuncture, which focuses on balancing qi, energy and life force.

During the dry needling procedure, thin filiform needles are placed in the areas you need treatment. For example, you may have needles in your muscles, trigger points, connective tissue, fascia and skin. The needles are left there for a specified period of time before they are removed. Their benefits include reduced healing time and pain relief. However, they also help increase your range of movement and decrease muscle hypertonicity.

What Does it Treat?

Dry needling is often used to treat pain, including neck, lower back, knee and hip pain. It also helps relieve and prevent headaches. If you have had shoulder injuries, such as adhesive capsulitis or rotator cuff strain, your doctor may suggest this procedure. Those with tennis or thrower’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, IT band syndrome, ankle or muscle strains, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy may also undergo dry needling. Shin splints and runner’s knee are also treated using needles.

Is it Painful?

The needles used in this treatment are very thin. They do penetrate from your skin to your muscles. Although the goal is to relieve pain and speed healing, you may feel a bit of a dull ache during and for 24 hours after the procedure. During the twitch response, which causes the rapid release of taut muscles, you may experience a few seconds of discomfort. One way to combat this discomfort and aching is to drink lots of water and keep your body moving.

If you have persistent pain or have had an injury, ask your doctor about dry needling.