What is dry needling?

Dry needling is also called as trigger point therapy, intramuscular stimulation or orthopedic acupuncture. Dry needling is a treatment used to help patients with chronic pain. Dry needling uses very thin needles that are inserted into the skin, muscle or connective tissue and then manipulated by hand until they reach their desired location in the body. Trigger Point Dry needling has been proven to work on many different types of chronic pain such as low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, hip pain, elbow pain, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia and more!

Why Do People Use Dry Needling?

Dry needling is used to resolve pain conditions. It’s a useful treatment because it is minimally invasive, safe (when performed by an experienced practitioner) and effective. Dry needling can be an alternative treatment for those who are experiencing unwanted side effects from other treatments and often is used as a complimentary addition to treatments that already exist like manual therapy, physical therapy, pre/post surgery and even as an alternative to surgery.

Dry needling is also a great option for regular body Maintence for athletes, runners, weightlifters, cross fitters, and anyone else who wants to continue to stay active and prevent injuries.

When Should You Consider Using Dry Needling?

Dry needling can help with many different types of chronic pain such as low back, neck, knee, elbow, hip or plantar fasciitis. Dry needling should be used when conservative treatments are not giving you relief. There’s no need to wait until your pain is so bad it’s affecting you 24/7. If you have a nagging ache or pain, then it’s better to address it as soon as possible with dry needling so it does not spiral into a more painful chronic condition.

Dry needling is a great option to help you get back on your feet. Dry needling can be used as an alternative treatment for those who are experiencing unwanted side effects from other treatments, or even as an alternative to surgery.

The needle will be inserted into the painful area and manipulated until it reaches its desired location in the body (often referred to as a trigger point).

Dry Needling is one of the fastest growing pain relief methods available today and it has been proven to work on many different types of pain conditions.

How Does The Dry Needling Help With Pain and Injuries.

3 reactions happen when a muscle is Dry Needled that help reduce pain and make muscles and nerves function better.

  • 1) A stretch receptor in the muscle is stimulated, producing a reflex relaxation (lengthening).
  • 2) The needle causes a small injury that draws blood to the area, initiating the natural healing process.
  • 3) The treatment creates an electrical potential in the muscle to make the nerve function normally again.

So dry needling essential reboots dysfunctional muscles and nerves. The more skilled a practitioner, the better they can find which areas need a reboot and the more approaches they can take to get you functioning properly. If you really want to understand how it works – let me quickly explain to you the complexities of pain.

So let’s take a step back and ask, what causes the majority of pain?

What Causes Most People’s Pain?

Research shows that pain is very personal. It’s a unique combination of dysfunctions, sensory signals and complex emotions. Structure alone doesn’t explain the problem. The status of our joints, muscles and tendons doesn’t completely explain pain symptoms, particularly with chronic pain. But a newer neuro-functional model explains the problem much better because it takes into account the contributions of the peripheral and central nervous systems. Sometimes the nervous system simply overreacts to normal stimuli because it’s sensitized, resulting in an inappropriate perception of pain.

Most chronic pain is chemical and neurological in nature – not structural. Since chronic pain is often neurological as opposed to structural, it is invisible to expensive X-rays, MRI Tests, and other scans. So a physical exam to locate changes in tissue like super sensitivity of nerves, taut bands (trigger points), trophies changes like thickening, hardness, and tonicity and muscle length will determine sites that need to be needled.

The needle sites can be at the epicenter of taut, tender muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root has become irritated and supersensitive. Inserting a needle in normal muscle is painless. But when a shortened, supersensitive muscle is needled it will ‘grasp’ the needle and cause a cramping sensation that reboots how muscles and nerves function.

Who can use trigger point dry needling?

Dry needling can be used by almost anyone. Dry needling is a very safe, minimally invasive treatment that has been found to work for many different types of pain conditions including: low back, neck, knee, hip, elbow, foot and more. If it hurts needling can usually help it.

What Are The Side Effects Of Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a very safe treatment that has been found to cause minimal side effects when performed by a qualified and skill practitioner like an acupuncturist, chiropractor or physical therapist. Acupuncturist will generally have the most experience and safest needle techniques out of the 3 due to their sole focus on using needles for treatment.

Potential side effects include: soreness for a day or so and slight bruising. There are some needle locations that are above major organs like the lungs, liver, kidneys, and major arteries but dry needling is very safe and these areas are carefully avoided by skilled practitioners.

Dry needling will most likely not have any negative interactions with other drugs you are taking and it does not involve cutting the body or surgery so there is minimal risk for infection.

What are some benefits of dry needling?

Reduced pain and swelling, increased range of motion, decreased muscle spasms or cramping and restoration of neuro-muscular function.

The main benefit is being able to get back to doing things you were once able to do but are limited in doing right now because of pain and movement dysfunction.

Where can I find a practitioner near me who offers dry needling?

There are many practitioners across the country that offer dry needling. You want to look at how long they’ve been offering the procedure, how many procedures they’ve performed, and how much training they actually have.

If you’re looking for dry needling in the Tampa, FL region then Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM at Hanson Complete Wellness (hansoncompelte.com) has been performing dry needling since 2011. He’s currently performed over 30,000 dry needling procedures and has a doctorate in acupuncture with a focus on orthopedics. As a dry needling practitioner in the state of Florida he is one of, if not, the most experienced.

How much does it cost for dry needling treatment sessions (including insurance coverage)? 

The cost of Dry Needling will vary depending on where you are located. But most treatments will range from $75-$125 dollars per session.

Insurance coverage for dry needling will depend on your individual insurance policy and is often billed as acupuncture (since dry needling is a type of acupuncture). You would need to contact your insurance company to see if you have coverage for either.

Most dry needlers are out of network for insurance especially in the State of Florida.

The Next Step

Dry needling is a safe, minimally invasive treatment that has been found to work for many different types of pain conditions. If you’re suffering from a nagging ache or pain, are limited by a painful condition like back pain, knee pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, elbow pain, foot pain or any other pain in your body then find a dry needling practitioner near you.

You can schedule a visit with Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM – Tampa’s most experienced dry needling clinic by clicking the button below.

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