Unfortunately, many people suffer from chronic pain, be it from sports injuries, car accidents or just general wear and tear. We wake up with the weight of the world on our shoulders, and we can feel it. The right knee gives out whenever it gets cold from an injury in childhood. Our bodies are fragile. We just learn to deal with it. Limp into work for a long shift on our feet, turn our full body around to talk to someone because it hurts our neck too much to move our head, or moan at our desk because of the searing pain shooting up our spine. But perhaps, we shouldn’t have to live like this? Dry needling may be the solution to reducing chronic pain. It is a physical therapist’s job and goal to help bring people in pain back to feeling “normal.” They are well trained in our bodies’ anatomy to facilitate us in our journey to recovery. Dry needling is a well documented and researched method that physical therapists have found that can often alleviate some of the daily bodily agonies so that people may return to their daily lives.But what IS dry needling and can it help you?
Dry needling (also known as Intramuscular Manual Therapy) is a practice where they insert a thin filiform “dry” needle, or one with no medication, into the trigger point muscle to reduce the pressure of the toxins that often build up in our systems. Dry needling can also be combined with mild electrical stimulation, if appropriate. The pain is similar to any other needle stick – a small pinch then hopefully relief. Light bleeding and bruising in the injection area are common side effects, but usually subside in a few days.
Unlike acupuncture, which just hits the surface of your skin at certain pressure points to realign your “energy,” dry needling stimulates the underlying myofascial points of your muscles – the ones that are often painful to the touch. However, many of them are found much deeper in our skeletal system so they cannot always be treated with manual. massage therapies. A thin needle (or needles, depending on the severity) is injected into your trigger area or the place on your body where your pain is rooted.
Each session lasts an average of 30 minutes. You should wear loose fitting clothing so that you are comfortable while the physical therapist can still access your areas of concern. Many with minor ailments have found relief within 24-48 hours of their first session. Repeated sessions have proven to bring a renewed range of motion and dexterity to those who have been struggling for a length of time.
The people who may benefit from this treatment range from those with common neck pain to those with severe spinal injury. Anyone with pain or dysfunction in the joints and/or musculoskeletal system can easily get relief from this simple, yet effective procedure.
A brief consultation with Manhattan Physical Therapy and Pain Center (212-213-3480 or www.ManhattanPTandPain.com) will help you decide if dry needling is right for you.