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Poking Away Pain: How Dry Needling Can Help With Muscle Pain & Pain Relief

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Dry needling, which is also referred to as trigger point needling, is a technique used by healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and chiropractors that is meant to help with pain relief and issues with movement. In fact, many have found the process to be quite beneficial in the fight against muscle pain. But you might find yourself wondering, how exactly does dry needling help with muscle pain and pain relief?

How Does Dry Needling Work?

In order to provide context for the benefits of dry needling, we wanted to briefly touch on the overall process for the treatment. In this procedure, thin needles are used to pierce the patient’s skin and muscle, where the specialist aims for what are called myofascial trigger points. These trigger points are “hyperirritable spots, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle, which are painful on compression” and can cause additional symptoms such as referred pain and motor dysfunction. By aiming for these pain points, dry needling typically leads to a variety of positive results for patients and the muscle pain they experience.

How Dry Needling Combat Muscle Pain?

Now that you understand the basics of the dry needling procedure, it makes sense to wonder “Well, how does this actually relieve muscle pain?” The answer, of course, is that it helps in a few different but ultimately effective ways. First, let’s talk about blood flow.

Increases Blood Flow

Dry needling is said to increase blood flow to the impacted areas. The Cleveland Clinic website does an excellent job of elaborating on the connection between dry needling and increased blood flow. Essentially, when your muscles become overworked it can lead to your muscle fibers not receiving regular amounts of blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen. Dry needling reinvigorates those aforementioned trigger points, setting that normal supply of blood back into motion.

Releases Tension

Along with increased blood flow, dry needling will also assist patients by releasing muscle tension and tightness. When your muscles become overworked, they may knot and form those myofascial trigger points. As a result, your muscles are in need of a release of that tension.

That’s where the dry needling comes in; the procedure elicits a response from the muscle, which then relaxes immediately afterwards.

Releases Endorphins

Another way that dry needling helps with muscle pain and pain relief is through the release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that our bodies create to help us combat pain and stress and can be released through common practices like exercise and meditation or even listening to your favorite songs and having a good laugh. Considered our body’s “natural painkiller”, it’s no wonder why the process of releasing endorphins would then play a big role in the positive effects associated with dry needling.

We understand that dry needling is a procedure that may initially come off as intimidating, which is why it’s important to learn more about it if you think it may be right for you. If you’re experiencing muscle pain, know someone who is, or simply want to learn more about dry needling treatments, you’re welcome to reach out to Movement Driven PerformancePhysiotherapy PLLCwith any questions or schedule a call.

Here are some before and after photos of Movement Driven clients' success with Dry Needling!

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