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Relieving Aches and Pains with Dry Needling

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From relieving aches and pains to recovering from injuries, McFarland Clinic’s physical therapists offer services to help patients feel better. Dry needling is a treatment technique used in physical therapy that can help provide quick relief for patients.

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is a form of therapy in which solid fine needles are inserted into painful trigger points (a tight, palpable knot) within muscles. Dry needling may help to decrease pain, improve muscle recruitment and improve range of motion.

"Dry needling is a valuable treatment option to help reset the muscle and tissues," says Barb Palas, MPT, SCS, ATC, McFarland Clinic Physical Therapy. "This can promote healing and help to regain function."

Dry needling is not acupuncture and does not have the purpose of altering the flow of energy for the treatment of diseases. In fact, dry needling is a modern, science-based intervention for the treatment of pain and dysfunction.

Who can benefit from dry needling?

Many musculoskeletal and even neurological conditions can be treated with dry needling. Dry needling can be used for:

  • Pain management
  • Healing of sprains and strains
  • Improving muscle activation
  • Improving mobility
  • Reducing swelling 

By targeting the specific source of the pain, dry needling causes chemicals to be released from the muscle, providing pain relief and improved function. This treatment can be effective for pain relief, decreasing muscular tension, and gaining back range of motion.

What should I do after I have received a dry needling treatment? How will I feel?

You may experience temporary soreness following treatment which may begin immediately or the next day.

Following treatment, you may use ice or heat to decrease soreness. Hydration and proper nutrition is also important following a dry needling treatment.

Is dry needling safe?

Yes, dry needling is safe. Sterile, FDA-approved needles are utilized for treatment. The treatment is minimally invasive, though some patients may experience brief mild discomfort or twitching of the muscle during treatment.

Your physical therapist has advanced training in dry needling focused on safe and effective use to minimize the risk of a significant adverse event or side effect.

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