At Inspired, we offer dry needling as a complement to our physical medicine services, such as chiropractic, massage and active rehab. Dry needling works in a different way towards a similar goal. The needles are often inserted both centrally near the spine to stimulate the central nervous system, near tight muscles to reduce tension, near tendons that may be damaged or inflamed and also in areas where nerves run that may contribute to pain.
By inserting the needles, we create what’s called a therapeutic lesion. We are stimulating the area enough for the body to have a positive healing response. Massage does this by pressing on, squeezing and kneading muscles. Needles penetrate the skin and have a different effect but they seek to accomplish the same goal- to calm the nervous system and lessen symptoms. Once inserted, you can then move needles in and out or twist them to create a greater therapeutic response. Your doctor will start with a smaller dosage and slowly increase to your body’s tolerance, typically over a series of visits.
Our goal with dry needling is for you to experience a familiar pain that is often described as a deep ache, but your pain levels should not exceed a 3/10 on the pain scale. Some patients describe a second of 5/10 pain followed by a quick drop to no pain or sensation. In fact, many people ask if the needles are still in because after a few minutes, they can no longer feel them. This is all a good sign that we are in the right area and that you will experience symptom relief as a result of the treatment.
Many people ask, “What do the needles do?” We know for sure that the needles cause macrophages to rush to the area to clean up debris and build healthier tissue. There are likely many processes we have yet to understand about all the ways needles can help you get better because they have a pretty amazing ability to get you feeling better fast. Even with the most chronic conditions, we see improvement in most of our patients. Dry needling in certain spots has also been shown to lessen overall chronic pain levels, as shown in a study of patients with fibromyalgia whose inflammatory markers decreased and felt improvement over time. We encourage you to give it a try!
How do I start dry needling? You must have a new patient chiropractic exam so the treating chiropractor can begin needling you. This does not mean you must have a chiropractic adjustment. We will do an exam and discuss with you all potential treatments that may benefit you in our office.
Whats the difference between acupuncture and dry needling? Mostly, the approach is different. Acupuncture has an entire philosophy developed over many years. Dry needling, sometimes referred to as orthopedic needling, looks only a the neuromusculoskeletal system. Questions we consider are: Where do you hurt? Does the pain radiate? What soft tissues may be involved? Then needles are placed according to this complaint, rather than the whole body system and meridians taken into account, as in acupuncture. Both are incredible and have the potential to greatly help your symptoms.
Feel free to ask your doctor for guidance on what you may need.