Dry needling can get to the point of your pain

Dry needling can get to the point of your pain

While the glimpse of a needle can cause some to feel anxious, others are turning to needles for a great sense of relief.

Dry needling is a technique used by trained physical and occupational therapists to relieve pain by targeting various trigger points in the muscle. During treatment, a thin, flexible needle with a beveled tip is inserted into taut bands or knots in the muscle to increase blood flow and release tension. The treatment is referred to as dry because nothing is injected into the body.

Dry needling is not the same as acupuncture, a needling treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. During acupuncture, multiple needles are inserted and remain in the body for 10-15 minutes to reduce inflammation and restore the balance of energy. Dry needling, on the other hand, uses in-and-out needle insertion techniques to treat and release painful trigger points.

Does it hurt?

According to Katelyn Peterson, a physical therapist at Aurora BayCare, dry needling is a well-tolerated treatment for patients experiencing tendonitis, muscle strain, headaches, and pains in the jaw, hip, neck, shoulder or back.

“The insertion of the needle can be slightly uncomfortable, and when the trigger point is targeted, the muscle may have a twitching response,” explains Peterson. “However, there are modifications therapists can make to improve the patient’s comfort throughout the treatment.”

Some patients may experience mild soreness after.

Is it safe?

Like all medical treatments, there are risks and benefits to dry needling. It’s important to talk with a professional to decide what’s best for you. Physical therapists will screen for various contraindications to determine the safest options for treating muscle pain.

Is it effective?

Some patients feel immediate relief of symptoms, while others notice benefits within 72 hours of treatment, according to Peterson. You may need one to three sessions of dry needling for full relief of pain. Dry needling can be performed once or twice a week.

In addition to relieving pain, dry needling may also decrease the need for medication. The treatment is typically used as part of a larger pain management or maintenance plan.

Insurance coverage can vary for this treatment – check with your provider for more information.

Are you having back or neck problems? Take a free online quiz here to learn more.

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  1. Is it available at Advocate sites and covered by our insurance in Ilinois?

    • Anna Kohler

      Hi Carol, Katelyn says, “Yes, the majority of locations offer the service. I recommend calling the rehabilitation facility and asking for dry needling and you will be scheduled with someone who is qualified to offer this intervention.” Your insurance provider may be the best resource to provide you with your financial obligation based on your specific health plan information. Thank you.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.