Dry Needling

Whether you are a professional athlete or active in your spare time, you don’t want an injury to get in your way. Some injuries cause pain and stiffness that can stop you in your tracks. These symptoms are often a sign of tense and knotted muscles. Sometimes, despite treatments like rest and gentle massage, the muscles just won’t budge.

At Baptist Health, we offer special therapies such as dry needling to release knotted muscles. Our therapists offer a depth of expertise and help most patients start to feel better after their first treatment.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling uses thin needles to gently stimulate muscles so they relax. This treatment helps you feel better while also making it safer to participate in other treatments, such as physical therapy. If you have never tried dry needling and are nervous about treatment, our expertise helps minimize discomfort so you can get much needed relief.

The sensation you feel during dry needling is not the same as what you may experience if you prick your finger on a pin. Some people feel deep pressure, but many feel no sensation at all.

Similar to acupuncture, the needles we use are thin and solid. However, this is where the similarities end:

  • Acupuncture promotes wellness by releasing the flow of energy (chi). Needles stay close to the skin’s surface and remain in place anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Dry needling relieves pain and improves range of motion in injured muscles. Needles go through many layers of skin to the muscle and are removed after a short period of time.  

Getting Relief from Sports Pain Using Dry Needling

We offer two types of dry needling:

  • Trigger point dry needling works by finding just the right spot, known as the trigger point. We then insert needles to stimulate tight muscle tissue. This action sparks a change in body chemistry that helps the muscles relax.
  • Integrative dry needling uses a slightly different approach. Instead of inserting needles into injured tissue, we use needles to break up the nerve signals that are causing your pain. Integrated dry needling offers a high level of precision and helps you get relief with potentially fewer needle pokes.

Other highlights of our program include:

  • Excellent results: Dry needling often brings immediate pain relief. As muscles relax, you’ll be able to move the injured area more freely, making it safer and more comfortable to go about your daily activities. Dry needling is also used for improving muscle tension and mobility for sport activities and may be used as a sports performance tool.
  • Convenience: We help you get the care you need without delay. Dry needling is available at various Baptist Health locations. We help you get the most out of each visit by delivering dry needling and physical therapy or other treatments in the same visit.
  • Comprehensive approach: Dry needling is one of many treatments available at Baptist Health. We carefully listen as you describe your symptoms and discuss with you the treatments that can best meet your needs and preferences. 

Sports Injuries We Treat with Dry Needling

Injuries we treat using dry needling include:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder problems
  • Lower back pain
  • Knee conditions 
  • Tendonitis
  • Sciatica
  • Hip pain

Dry Needling: What to Expect

If you have tried other treatments without success, put your trust in Baptist Health. Our practitioners specialize in using hands-on techniques, such as dry needling, to help you get relief from sports injury pain.

If dry needling is right for you, here’s what to expect: 

  • Evaluation: We apply gentle pressure to the skin near and around the injury. Doing so helps us understand which muscles are holding tension so we can precisely target the treatment area. Find out more about comprehensive sports injury evaluation at Baptist Health.
  • Personalized treatment plan: We tailor treatments based on our evaluation while also considering your comfort and personal preferences. If the pain is too severe for you to receive standard treatments like soft tissue massage, dry needling is one of many special treatments we deliver by hand (manual therapy) to help you feel better. Find out more about manual therapy. 
  • Education: Before treatment, we explain how dry needling works and show you where we plan to place the needles. We let you know how many needles we may use and also explain what sensations you can expect to feel.
  • Setting realistic expectations: In the days following dry needling, the treatment area may be sore, but don’t give up. This discomfort is only temporary and is a sign that your muscles are doing the work necessary to heal. As you start to feel better, we discuss with you which activities are safe to resume and if you could benefit from additional dry needling treatments.
  • Your first treatment: We always consider your comfort and peace of mind during treatment. If you are nervous, your first treatment may include fewer needles than normal.
  • What happens during treatment: We slowly insert the needle until we reach the surface of the affected muscle. We then gently advance the needle a little further until we stimulate the trigger point.
  • How it will feel: The needles we use are so thin that there’s a chance you may not feel anything during treatment. The sensations you experience may also depend on where we place the needle. Dry needling in the calves tends to cause more sensation while treatments in the hips rarely cause any sensation at all.
  • Next steps: After treatment, we test your range of motion and muscle strength to determine whether dry needling is working. We also give you an idea of whether additional dry needling sessions may help you.

Dry Needling After Effects

Dry needling aftereffects are a common topic of discussion for patients and practitioners. Many patients experience temporary, mild side effects with dry needling. Serious side effects, however, are rare.

Common Dry needling aftereffects:

  • Short-term soreness and discomfort.
  • Bleeding at the injection site.
  • Bruising at or near the injection site.

To reduce the likelihood of aftereffects, Baptist Health provides intensive training to practitioners on proper dry needling techniques and industry-standard safety precautions. 

Next Steps with MyChart

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