Do you struggle with chronic headaches or migraines?

Does carpal tunnel syndrome make it difficult for you to do the things you love?

Does lower back pain feel like a constant companion?

If so, dry needling physical therapy treatments can help.

Here at Capitol Physical Therapy in Washington DC, one of the physical therapy services we offer is dry needling.

Read on to find out more about dry needling, how it works, and how it can help you find relief from what ails you.

What Is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a physical therapy treatment that involves the insertion of fine needles into your skin. These are called filiform needles.

These needles are placed directly onto areas where your muscles are irritated, known as trigger points.

The reason we call it dry needling is to differentiate it from wet needling. If you’ve ever gotten an intravenous or intramuscular injection, you know what wet needling is. With dry needling, however, no fluid is used and nothing is injected.

There are actually three different types of dry needling: trigger point, non trigger point, and in and out techniques.

Trigger Point Dry Needling

With trigger point dry needling, your physical therapist will insert filiform needles directly on the spot where you feel the greatest discomfort.

Non Trigger Point Dry Needling

With the non trigger point technique, your physical therapist will insert filiform needles near your pain points, but not directly on it. This is based on the idea that pain comes from the area around your muscles, not from the muscle themselves.

In And Out Dry Needling

The in and out dry needling technique is a technique where your physician therapist pushes the dry needle in and pulls it out. This is also known as sparrow pecking or pistoning.

With the in and out technique, they don’t stay in place.

Dry Needling Vs. Acupuncture

If you’re familiar with acupuncture, all this might sound familiar. And it’s true, they do have some similarities. In fact, if you were to watch a session of either, you might have a hard time figuring out which is which.

Superficially, they both use the same type of needles, and they are both inserted into the skin to be used as a treatment for pain.

However, there are some significant differences between the two.

Acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine, and it focuses on your energy flow, or qi. Although acupuncture has a fair amount of scientific research supporting its benefits in pain management, as a treatment for chronic headaches, and several other issues, we have yet to discover any evidence for the concept of qi.

On the other hand, dry needling is based on modern medical science. The purpose behind dry needling is to stimulate your trigger points in order to relieve pain. Dry needling needles tend to go deeper than acupuncture as well.

Each has its benefits.

Benefits Of Dry Needling

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of dry needling.

Dry Needling For Headaches And Migraines

Dry needling is useful as a physical therapy treatment for headaches.

By targeting the trigger points that can form when your muscles become knotted, dry needling can provide relief for your headaches or migraines.

Dry Needling For Pain Relief

Dry needling can also be useful as a pain management physical therapy technique.

In particular, it can help relieve pain from sports injuries, lower back pain, heel pain, and hip pain.

Dry Needling For Tendonitis

If you’re dealing with tendonitis, dry needling can help.

Dry needling stimulates blood flow to your injured tendon, which brings along with it increased collagen, stem cells, and other beneficial compounds.

Dry Needling For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

With more and more people working desk jobs, physical therapy treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome are a common concern.

Dry needling can help there as well. By dry needling the trigger points associated with the muscles in your hand, you can find relief from your carpal tunnel pain.

Dry Needling For Pelvic Floor Issues

Pelvic floor issues are common when it comes to physical therapy for women’s health as well as those of other genders, and dry needling can help there as well.

Depending on what muscles are affecting you in particular, and what muscle function you’d like to improve, treatment will vary. But in many cases it can help you find relief from your pelvic floor issues.

Other Benefits Of Dry Needling

Dry needling has other benefits as well, and not all of them are even strictly related to physical therapy.

Dry needling has been shown to be beneficial with:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Managing fibromyalgia pain
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Osteoarthritis pain

Research is ongoing into this treatment as well.

Dry Needling Risks

Broadly speaking, dry needling is considered to be a very safe treatment. You’re likely to feel mild side effects, including some mild bruising, bleeding, and soreness, but this passes pretty quickly.

Serious side effects are extremely rare, and mostly come as a result of more unscrupulous practitioners who use non sterile needles or poor placement due to lack of training. However, if your physical therapist uses sterile needles, as we do, the risk involved is extremely minimal.

How Quickly Does Dry Needling Work?

The results you see from dry needling will depend on the issue you’re seeking treatment for, as well as how serious it is.

However, many report feeling improvement from their symptoms within 1 to 2 days after treatment.

Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today

Are you dealing with one of the above health concerns?

Curious about dry needling?

If so, our physical therapists can help.

Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.

Chronic pain or an injury holding you back? Capitol Physical Therapy can help. 

Book your free 15 minute consultation today