You may have seen dry needling on the internet or heard about it from your doctor, but what is it? Dry needling is often a very effective means to alleviate pain and improve function when applied appropriately to tight muscles and taut muscle bands, or “trigger points.” A monofilament needle, the same used in acupuncture, is inserted into the trigger point, relaxing the muscle and resetting the nerve that’s causing spasms. Here are 5 reasons to try dry needling:
1. Relaxes Tight Muscles
Often, muscles are tight because they are not responding to simple stretching. If this is the case, the muscle may be in spasm. That spasm is likely caused by a signal from the nerve that controls the muscle. Needling tight muscles causes contractions that allows them to relax and more effectively respond to stretching.
2. Alleviates Nerve Pain
We often see patients that are experiencing numbness and tingling in their arms and legs stemming from nerve irritation close to the spine. Trigger points along the arm or leg that are causing this pain can be needled to decrease the symptoms. Many people that are suffering with carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel can get relief with needling as well. While it will not replace the need for surgical carpal or cubital tunnel release, needling in less severe cases can be very effective.
3. Promotes Muscle Stimulation
Many people suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain can inhibit or shutdown the muscles around the painful area. Dry needling in conjunction with electrical stimulation can be used to target very small muscles to help improve muscle firing, and thus muscle control, of an effected joint.
4. Produces an Endorphin Release
Needling results in a release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that help block pain signals sent to the spinal cord and brain.
5. Decreases Chronic Pain
Needling can help improve the health of the central nervous system. It’s believed that needling trigger points helps to reset some of the chronic negative effects of pain on the system. When used in conjunction with other therapy treatments, this can be a powerful tool to improve function and help return patients to proper health.
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