Our Spine Expert, Dr. Kayla Christiaansen shares about Trigger Point Dry Needling in today’s video:
Trigger point dry needling is a new and exciting modality we here at Balance Within – Integrative Physical Therapy are offering at our Pathways Wellness location and it is downright amazing for all sorts of painful conditions from herniated discs to stenosis, muscle spasms, neck strains, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, and even plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and carpal tunnel! Frankly, anywhere in the body where you are experiencing tightness or tension, it’s quite likely dry needling can help.
Dry needling is a process of inserting very small mono-filament needles into specific trigger points in the muscles to release tension in the muscle groups targeted. While it looks similar to an acupuncture needle, it should be made abundantly clear that this is in no way acupuncture, or anything even born from it in any way. Acupuncture works with the meridian system and the chi, whereas dry needling is based on western medicine understandings of the body and specifically works with the muscles in a more direct and immediately tangible way from an anatomical/physiologic standpoint.
When placing the needle at a trigger point, an interesting phenomenon occurs – the whole muscle group “triggered” by the insertion of the tiny needle begins to twitch or spasm, causing (in fancy PT terms) a depolarization of the muscle. And what does depolarization mean, you ask? Basically, it just means the muscle is allowed to relax, let go of tension, and reset completely. Not only does this process help relieve soreness and stiffness, it also increases blood flow and aids in recovery from injury.
While it’s true that the initial placement of the needle can bring about some discomfort, the needle is really only in place for about five seconds, so it’s very brief. It is quite likely you will be a bit sore afterwards; many people equate the sensation to how they feel after a particularly intense workout. Slight bruising is also quite common and nothing to be concerned about. It will abate after a short while, but while it’s still present, we would advise that you take it easy for a day or two after the procedure so as to allow your body the time it needs to integrate the work it’s received and heal on a deep level. Ice, heat, and gentle stretching are all wonderful ways to support your body after receiving dry needling, and your physical therapist can discuss specific suggestions tailored to your situation in particular when they meet with you.
Dry needling is an excellent tool for many patients, and it’s important to note that it’s not a panacea or a fix-all. For best results, it is imperative you work with one of our expert, highly-trained therapists to really get to the root of your issues. Once we’ve helped you discover what’s really going on, then we can recommend dry needling or any number of other specialties we offer here in the clinic.
Dr. Kayla, our resident spine specialist fully trained and certified to offer dry needling, is available to connect with you in a one to one consultation and help advise you on if it’s a good fit for you, and what else may be necessary to really get you back to feeling your full self again.
Don’t let injury and the myth of old age keep you from living your life – we here at Balance Within are happy to help and honored to be part of your team, keeping you strong, vital, and feeling great through all the wear and tear life can take on the body.
Still curious and want to learn more? Call 262.264.8701 or click the button below. Your healing is possible!