In this therapeutic treatment, a trained physical therapist inserts thin, filament needles into a muscle at a trigger point. Dry needling is used to release trigger points to reduce pain, restore the normal muscle length and improve function of a muscle.
A trigger point is a small contraction or “knot” in a muscle. It feels like pea buried deep in the muscle. This knot causes the muscle to shorten and compresses the structures around it which causes pain. Trigger points can be caused by injury, musculoskeletal dysfunction, or overuse.
A thin, filament needle is inserted into a trigger point. This causes a local twitch response. This response helps release muscle tension and decrease pain.
It can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal issues: neck and back pain, headaches, repetitive stress injuries, muscle strains, sacroiliac joint pain, and shoulder/ arm/leg pain. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if dry needling could treat your symptoms.
Most people do not feel the needle being inserted. There may be sensations like slight pinching, aching and warmth, or no sensations at all. A sensation of heaviness may be felt after treatment.
It is common to experience soreness in the area that was treated for 24-48 hours. The soreness is tolerable for most patients. You can apply heat or ice, and use stretching (as directed by your physical therapist) to treat your pain. Minor bleeding or bruising can occur and is considered normal.
Improvement is usually seen after 2-4 treatment sessions, depending on what caused your symptoms cause and how long you have had them.
If necessary, your provider may need to place a referral to physical therapy. Your physical therapist will decide if you could benefit from dry needling. and will incorporate this treatment along with other physical therapy interventions.
To learn more about Mercyhealth physical therapists who offer dry needling, click on Find a Provider below.
557 N. Washington St.
Janesville, WI 53548
519 W. Main St.
Whitewater, WI 53190