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Dry Needling FAQ

Did your doctor prescribe dry needling? Learn all about this amazing treatment and how it can help improve your recovery

Q: What is Dry Needling?

A: Dry needling uses a solid, single-use needle to cause a small contraction of the tight painful points of the muscle called "trigger points."  These needles are the same as used by acupuncturists, but in contrast to acupuncture, dry needling is strictly based on western medicine principles and research.

Q: When is it appropriate?

A: Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend a session of dry needling for conditions such as: headache, neck and back pain, shoulder pain, plantar fasciitis, ligament sprains, hip and knee pain, muscle strains, sports injuries, and repetitive strain injuries.

Q: What does Dry Needling feel like?

A: For most people, there is little to no discomfort with the insertion of the needle. The body responds to the needle with a localized twitch response, which are spinal cord reflexes. This twitch response elicits a very brief pain response, lasting less than a second. The sensation of this response can vary drastically from patient to patient; some describe this as a slight cramping sensation, while others describe it as a small electric shock. Many learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, causing the positive benefits of dry needling.

Q: What side effects can I expect after a session?

A: Most patients report slight soreness immediately after their session. This soreness is typically reserved only to the treated muscles and into the areas of referring symptoms and may last up to 48 hours. Others have reported a pleasant and relaxing feeling.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid doing after a session of Dry Needling?

A: Recommendations will be made by your therapist based on your response to the treatment and initial soreness. Some general recommendations include avoiding strenuous activity, applying ice or heat, and gently stretching the applied area.

Q: How long does it take to work?

A: The duration of treatment varies between each individual and the affected area. Typically, positive results are apparent between two to four sessions, with each session increasing flexibility and decreasing pain in the affected area. However, this depends on many factors including the cause and duration of the symptoms, as well as the overall health of the patient.

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