Recovering from an injury, whatever it may be, can be a long and strenuous process both physically and mentally. Maybe it’s not even a direct injury you’re overcoming, but rather a chronic pain in your neck, back, and shoulder area that stems from years of bad posture or incorrect movements. Whatever it may be, your main focus is to find a solution — a holistic, integrated solution to the pain you’ve been living with. When it comes to treating chronic pain, there are a variety of integrative health and wellness treatments available. These include massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, spinal decompression, laser therapy, and of course, physical therapy.
Seeing a treatment specialist, for whatever treatment you’re receiving, on a regular basis can provide you with the relief you’ve been seeking for a while. And, oftentimes, mixing your treatments can bring relief faster. For example, many individuals who struggle with chronic pain will see both a massage therapist and chiropractor on a regular basis, or even receive massage therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic care in conjunction. Utilizing all chronic pain relief treatments can help reduce pain more effectively and efficiently, and get you back to living a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.
In a past blog, we discussed what physical therapy is and how exactly it can help you feel better. Seeing a physical therapist routinely can help to improve your mobility and range of motion, and work to help you manage pain without taking strong medications. Further, physical therapy is an effective option if you are trying to avoid getting surgery to fix the pain you’re experiencing.
There are many techniques that physical therapy utilizes to relieve pain in the body, and one of them is dry needling. But before we dive in to explain what the benefits of dry needling are, we need to know what it is.
What Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a technique utilized by both chiropractors and physical therapists to relieve pain and initiate the healing process after a patient gets a musculoskeletal injury and/or is dealing with some type of chronic pain. During a dry needling process, the treatment specialist will use a thin filiform needle to puncture the skin and reach fascia, muscles, tendons, joints, and trigger points. The goal is to stimulate a muscle or trigger point in order to heal the muscle and surrounding tissue and to relieve hyperlocal pain. Releasing a trigger point can further relax tight and irritated muscles to correct posture and dysfunctions in movement, as well as increase mobility and range of motion. Dry needling is often used in conjunction with other physical therapy treatments, as well as massage therapy and chiropractor, in order to comprehensively relieve pain.
Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture
When you think of a needle being put in your skin to relieve pain, you may jump straight to acupuncture. While both treatments utilize needles, acupuncture and dry needling are completely different. Acupuncture is a Chinese technique that has been used for centuries that focuses on treating the entire body to promote overall wellness. Dry needling is more specific and requires the knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, including specific muscles, tissues, and trigger points. Rather than addressing the full body, dry needling focuses on one specific location where a trigger point is disrupting the health, movement, and strength of a muscle or tendon. This, in turn, relieves pain that is stemming from this specific spot.
How Can Dry Needling Treat Chronic Pain?
As explained above, dry needling treatments target trigger points to relieve specific, hyperlocal pain. Trigger points are areas of sensitive, painful muscle/fascia that have formed because of direct trauma from an injury or due to the mistraining of a muscle. These trigger points can hold not only acute pain, but stress. When stimulated by dry needling, the trigger point releases tension and is encouraged to heal properly.
Does The Process Hurt?
The idea of a needle puncturing the surface of the skin to reach a muscle can make you cringe, and you might be wondering what type of pain you should be expecting. This depends on the type of pain you are in and are currently experiencing. You will most likely feel the needle go in, but it will feel like a prick and shouldn’t hurt too much. Your physical therapist or chiropractor will identify which muscle and trigger point they are trying to locate. They will know that they have reached the spot they are targeting because they will notice resistance on the needle, as well as a twitch response in the muscle. This involuntary twitch is a result of alleviating some type of tension buildup in that trigger point/muscle area. Your treatment specialist will continue to poke the trigger point until the involuntary twitches subside or when you cannot handle any more needling in that specific location. Once the treatment is done and the needle has been removed, the treatment specialist will put pressure on the spot that was needled to prevent any swelling from happening. After the session is completed, you may feel sore in the areas that were worked on for the remainder of the day, as well as the following day. You can address the soreness by using a heating pad, but the soreness will subside shortly.
How Often Should You Get Dry Needling?
Depending on the type of chronic pain you are experiencing, getting dry needling treatments once a week should result in a noticeable relief of pain. If you are experiencing quite a lot of pain, getting dry needled a few times a week may be recommended by your physical therapist or chiropractor. Switching between physical therapy sessions, dry needling, massage therapy, and chiropractic care can make the healing process move faster, and in many cases, can be more effective.
Treat Chronic Pain At Orland Park Integrated Health
If you live in the Orland Park area and are looking for an integrated healthcare center to treat chronic pain anywhere in your body, take the time to learn more about Orland Park Integrated Health. Whether you have sustained an injury, are dealing with migraines, or are wanting to correct painful postures and muscle movements, our facility offers a wide range of services and techniques that are aimed at healing and relieving pain throughout the body. From physical therapy to trigger point needling/injections to massage therapy, our team of healthcare specialists are at the ready to help you achieve a pain-free lifestyle. Contact our Top Rated Local® Health and Wellness Center today to learn more and to schedule an appointment. Your journey to wellness begins here.