What is Dry Needling? Kansas City’s F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic weighs in.
02 July 2019 — Chiropractic, Physical Therapy
What is Dry Needling in Kansas City?
If you’ve heard of dry needling as a treatment for muscle soreness, you may be wondering “What is dry needling?” Many people are hesitant to be treated with needles for muscle soreness.
However, this relatively painless procedure is one of the most effective ways to target a trigger point (including the head & neck, back, ankles & feet, shoulders, knees, arms, and more) and can have significant benefits for your body!
What is a trigger point? Do I have a trigger point?
A trigger point is a spot of local tenderness, consisting of a taut band of muscle with a palpable nodule or “knot” that provokes pain in the area in or around the trigger point.
The shortened muscle within the taut band causes stretching to the muscle tissue surrounding the trigger point, thus impacting the whole muscle complex.
The development of myofascial trigger points can stem from a variety of mechanisms, including repetitive low-level contractions, sustained positioning, and maximal contractions.
With muscle contractions, the body relies on the availability of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to break the contraction between sarcomeres. However, when ATP runs out, these sarcomeres remain in a constant contracted state, leading to the formation of trigger points.
Characteristics of trigger points include muscle stiffness, decreased range of motion of the joint, muscle weakness, and inhibition of the muscle. This can lead to:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Jaw pain
- Shoulder pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee pain
- Tennis elbow
- Shin splints
- Little leaguers elbow
- Nerve entrapments
Dry needling in Kansas City targets trigger points to reverse these negative effects and restore full function to the specific muscle and the muscle complex as a whole.
What is dry needling in Kansas City?
Dry Needling is a manual, therapeutic technique aimed at healing dysfunctional muscle tissue in the body. Essentially, we insert a thin needle into a deep myofascial trigger point to generate a local, involuntary muscle twitch. The doctors at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic often use an electrical stimulation unit attached to the needles to maximize twitch responses and increase tolerance to the treatment.
Dry needling is not typically described as painful but rather the treatment itself may be uncomfortable as it causes strong, repeated muscle contractions. However, many patients report that experiencing this sensation is worth it to achieve the end result!
Following dry needling sessions, soreness should be expected, and it is not uncommon to notice redness or bruising around the area after the procedure.
What is dry needling versus acupuncture?
One of the biggest questions people have when it comes to dry needling is its relation to acupuncture.
While acupuncture and dry needling seem similar, each has a different goal in the end. Although the needle used for each is indistinguishable, this is generally where the similarities end.
Acupuncture is more geared towards xi (chi) and energy flow between the body’s meridians.
Dry needling targets the musculoskeletal system, specifically trigger points, and works on a deeper surface, literally.
How does dry needling work?
The muscle twitch generated by dry needling is where a lot of the benefit comes from, as it reduces tension and restores function to the muscle.
When targeted at an active trigger point, dry needling works through a variety of physiological processes.
First, it works to reset the muscle by restoring blood flow and oxygen to that which has been blocked by the trigger point, while also raising the pH to a normal value.
Other effects associated with trigger point dry needling include decreases in nociceptive input (pain) and biochemical agents, as well as activation of higher centers of the brain to provide descending pain inhibition from a result of the mechanical stimulation from the needle.
What is dry needling in Kansas City? F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic is bringing you all of the answers to your chiropractic and physical therapy questions.
F.I.T.’s highly trained specialists are experts in their field and provide the highest quality of physical therapy and chiropractic care in the Kansas City area. Explore our locations today or schedule an appointment to discover if dry needling is right for you.