Dry Needling Provides Pain Relief for Patients | News, Sports, Jobs

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Trinity Rehabilitation Services physiotherapist Michelle Appelgate performs dry needling on a patient.

People who suffer from headaches, lower back pain, neck or shoulder pain can find relief with dry needling. The technique targets myofascial trigger points or “Node” in the muscles that cause tenderness and transmit pain to different parts of the body. Individuals with this tight, tense feeling may also experience limited range of motion and weakness.

At UnityPoint Health – Trinity Rehabilitation Services, we use Dry Needling to reduce muscle tension and relieve pain. The process involves inserting a fine needle into the trigger points to relieve pain, improve joint range of motion and muscle activation. Patients may feel a small pang as the needle goes in, and then a slight pain as the needle hits the trigger point.

By directly hitting a trigger point, both the patient and the therapist feel a twitch in the muscle. The therapist moves the needle in, out, and around until the twitching disappears and the trigger point is released, loosening and relaxing the muscle.

Some patients feel relief immediately, while others experience pain for a few days. Heat, ice, and stretching can help with sore muscles and result in faster recovery times for patients. Most patients will experience a deep achy or cramping sensation during the dry needling process, but some may experience an emotional or systemic reaction, such as:

Individuals interested in the dry needling technique undergo a pre-treatment exam to identify trigger points. The specialized technique is often used in therapy programs alongside manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.

The process of using a fine needle to treat trigger points could be compared to acupuncture, but they are very different treatments. In acupuncture, the needles are placed superficially along the meridians to alter the flow of energy, while in dry needling, the needles are inserted directly into the muscle to relieve tension at that trigger point. Dry needling is also a very quick process, as the needles are only in there for a short time.

Dry needling can help anyone experiencing pain or joint limitations, particularly in the neck, shoulders, lower back, knees and hips, although trigger points can be found in every muscle in the body. Pain is often transferred from one trigger point to another part of the body. For example, a person suffering from knee pain might actually have a trigger point in their quad muscle, not their knee.

Within a few treatments, many patients referred by one provider experience pain relief for a variety of conditions. Dry needling is a safe treatment and only trained therapists can offer this service. Trinity Rehabilitation Services has seen many positive effects of dry needling since the technique began in 2019.

Michelle Appelgate is a Physical Therapist at Trinity Rehabilitation Services.

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