What Is Dry Needling and How Can It Help You Recover from Injuries?

Posted in April 16, 2023
By Dan Wheeler
What Is Dry Needling and How Can It Help You Recover from Injuries

Dry needling is an innovative, minimally invasive treatment method used by physical therapists, chiropractors, physicians, and other medical specialists. It is called dry needling to differentiate it from wet needling. In wet needling, hollow needles are used to deliver medication during treatment. Dry needling treatment uses solid, filiform needles that don’t contain medication. 

During dry needling, a small, thin, sterile needle is inserted into the skin to stimulate the underlying myofascial trigger points. This can relieve pain, inflammation, and stiffness and improve circulation. The insertion of the needles stimulates the body’s healing response, releasing endorphins and hormones, and stimulating the neurotransmitters that promote healing. Because dry needling is minimally invasive, it is a low-risk treatment option with little downtime and few negative side effects. At Strong Oaks Physical Therapy, our physical therapist, Dr. Wheeler, offers safe, effective dry needling in St. Johnsbury, VT. Dr. Wheeler can help you determine if dry needling is right for you and your symptoms—simply call us today at (802) 424-1434.

Benefits of Dry Needling

Dry needling can help treat chronic pain, stiffness, inflammation, mobility issues, loss of range of motion, and tenderness. Most patients don’t experience any pain or discomfort during or after the procedure and find the process very relaxing. The benefits of dry needling treatments include:

  • Being less invasive than other treatment options
  • Reducing the risk of future injuries
  • Reducing chronic pain
  • Easing stiffness and muscle aches
  • Restoring range of motion and flexibility
  • Improving mobility
  • Potentially eliminating the need for other treatment methods or procedures
  • Helping you get back to work or other activities you enjoy faster
  • Improving circulation and blood flow
  • Accelerating your body’s natural healing processes 

Conditions Treated by Dry Needling

Your physician or physical therapist may recommend dry needling treatments if you have chronic pain, stiffness, mobility issues, or persistent side effects of illness or injury. Dry needling is an effective treatment method for:

  • Hip pain
  • Neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Myofascial pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Tennis elbow, tendonitis, and other repetitive stress injuries
  • Arthritis and other joint problems
  • TMJ
  • Whiplash
  • Spine issues

Dry Needling in Combination with Other Therapies

Combining dry needling treatment with other therapies can be incredibly effective and offer long-lasting relief. Patients have reported that the intensity of their pain, their mobility and flexibility, and their overall range of motion have been improved consistently when they have undergone dry needling treatments along with other physical therapy treatments and modalities.

Safety and Efficacy of Dry Needling

Because it is minimally invasive, dry needling is safe, effective, and has few drawbacks or negative side effects. If dry needling is performed by an experienced, licensed practitioner, there is very little risk of any complications or problems. Dry needling not only has a pain-relieving, analgesic effect on the body, but it also stimulates the body’s natural healing processes. 

What to Expect at Your First Appointment for Dry Needling

You should only visit a physical therapist, medical specialist, or licensed practitioner for dry needling treatments. Before undergoing dry needling, you’ll have an initial assessment or evaluation, during which your physical therapist will find out more about your condition, symptoms, goals, and lifestyle. If dry needling is right for you, he will schedule an appointment for your first session.

Your physical therapist will let you know if it’s okay to take pain medication before your appointment. You will either put on a medical gown for your treatment, or you will be instructed to wear loose-fitting clothing. You will lie on a comfortable, padded table and your physical therapist will talk you through each step as he performs it. He will sterilize your skin before beginning. Each needle used in dry needling is sterile and will be removed from its sterile packaging in your presence. Your physical therapist may use between five and 20 needles in each session. The entire procedure may take between 10 and 15 minutes. 

Your physical therapist will insert each needle above a trigger point in your skin, approximately five to 10 mm deep. The needle will remain in your skin for around 30 seconds. Insertion may be repeated in the same area or a different area a few minutes later. 

After your treatment, your physical therapist will inspect your skin for any signs of reaction. You should stay hydrated and move freely so that you’re less likely to experience soreness or pain. Your physical therapist may suggest that you stretch afterwards and use heat or cold therapy to treat any residual pain or soreness. 

Want to Learn More About Dry Needling and Find Out if it’s Right for You? Contact Us at Strong Oaks Physical Therapy Today!

If you’re curious about dry needling and want to learn more, contact us at Strong Oaks Physical Therapy today. We offer an initial dry needling assessment to help you find out if dry needling would be effective or beneficial for you, your symptoms, and your needs. We also offer ongoing dry needling treatments in St. Johnsbury, VT as well as a dry needling treatment package, where you get up to 5 visits for $175 or 10 visits for $300. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (802) 424-1434 or request an appointment online. You can also schedule a free, 15-minute telehealth appointment to discuss if dry needling is right for you.

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About The Author

Dan Wheeler
Physical Therapist
I never grew up thinking I was going to be in this role. I never had dreams or ever said it was my goal to be a Physical Therapist, but yet somehow this profession found me. Now, this is not just a job, and it is definitely not about the money. I truly live for this.

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