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Relieving Pain with Dry Needling: Exploring the Latest Insights

Recent research published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine sheds light on the burgeoning popularity of myofascial trigger point dry needling, also known as dry needling. This practice is emerging as a pivotal tool in managing acute, chronic, and post-surgery pain.

Before delving into these findings, it's crucial to grasp the essence of dry needling, its role in injury mediation, how it differs from acupuncture, and the conditions it effectively treats.

Understanding the Source of Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal problems often entail discomfort and functional limitations, impacting everyday activities like walking or standing. Prolonged inactivity exacerbates these issues, leading to decreased endurance, weakness, and altered gait patterns, ultimately resulting in trigger points. These trigger points contribute to pain by causing muscle fibers to contract, reducing blood flow and oxygenation, and creating acidic environments within the muscles, manifesting as knots, fatigue, and muscle burn.

Given that much research focuses on primary pain causes like bone-on-bone contact, trigger points, which play a significant role in perpetuating pain, often remain overlooked. This underscores the importance of techniques like dry needling in pain management.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling targets myofascial pain and musculoskeletal dysfunction by inserting needles into dense muscle areas, facilitating muscle relaxation and increased blood flow without the discomfort associated with manual techniques. The objective is to alleviate pain, enhance muscle function, and improve overall functionality. Common conditions addressed through dry needling include sprain/strain injuries, chronic pain, tension-type headaches, muscle pressure buildup, and nerve compression.

Distinguishing Dry Needling from Acupuncture

While both dry needling and acupuncture utilize fine needles for pain reduction, they diverge in approach and underlying principles. Dry needling aims to reduce muscle tension and improve musculoskeletal function through targeted soft tissue insertion. In contrast, acupuncture modulates the body's energy meridians to stimulate endorphin release, promoting healing and restoring health.

Post-Surgery Muscle Management

In surgical contexts, dry needling proves beneficial in addressing pre-existing or post-operative trigger points. Surgery often traumatizes tissues, leading to muscle shortening and pain. Additionally, post-operative complications may deter patients from resuming movement, exacerbating muscle issues. Dry needling mitigates these challenges by reducing trigger points and restoring proper muscle mechanics.

Dry Needling vs. Long-term Opioid Use

Compared to opioids, dry needling offers a safer, more effective alternative for managing musculoskeletal pain, particularly in chronic cases. Opioids, while binding to pain receptors, entail numerous side effects and risk dependencies. Dry needling provides longer-lasting pain relief compared to lidocaine injections or medication. Moreover, it complements exercise programs, offering holistic pain management solutions.

Experience Dry Needling at Emery Physical Therapy

Discover if dry needling can alleviate your discomfort and help you return to an active lifestyle. Contact us today at (847) 786-2014 to schedule a consultation.

For a deeper dive into the science, research, and effectiveness of dry needling, click [HERE](link to additional resources).

Unlock the potential of dry needling and embark on your journey to pain relief and improved well-being at Emery Physical Therapy in Mt. Prospect, IL, and Oakbrook Terrace, IL.