Musculoskeletal disorders, which are nothing but problems linked to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, not only lead to pain and discomfort but can also have a severe impact on your body’s ability to perform physical activities.
Whether you talk about back pain that stems from overuse of muscles, shoulder pain that results from poor posture, or knee pain that occurs due to an injury, these are all musculoskeletal disorders.
Apart from that conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and gout, etc., are also musculoskeletal conditions. All of these are different forms of arthritis, which affect the joints. These inflammatory conditions reduce your range of motion, affect your flexibility, cause joint pain and swelling, and can also lead to headaches.
Musculoskeletal pain worsens with physical activities like walking, climbing the stairs up and down, performing high-intensity workouts, and lifting heavy items. Apart from that, overweight, consuming foods that cause inflammation, weak muscles and bones can also increase your musculoskeletal pain.
You can see a doctor or a physical therapist to treat musculoskeletal conditions. Nowadays, you will find several people who prefer consulting a physical therapist over a doctor when it comes to treating injuries and disorders linked to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and joints. And one of the most important reasons for this is physical therapy has no side effect on your body. It’s an entirely drug-free approach to treating pain and healing injuries as well as illnesses.
The techniques that a physical therapist uses to treat musculoskeletal problems help in increasing circulation, improving flexibility and range of motion, decreasing pain, and increasing the body’s natural ability to fight inflammation and heal injuries. One such technique is dry needling.
A Brief Description of What Exactly is Dry Needling
Performed only by a skilled physical therapist, dry needling is an excellent way to relieve pain, improve circulation, enhance flexibility, and boost mobility.
Whether you are struggling with frequent headaches, mild-to-severe neck, back and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis, sciatica, or muscle strains, dry needling can prove to be utterly significant for subsiding your pain and addressing other common symptoms of your problem.
A physical therapist inserts a sterile needle into the body of the patients to relieve the pain linked to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
A lot of people think that dry needling is similar to acupuncture, which is incorrect. According to Fultz Physical Therapy, “Based on a modern scientific study of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems, dry needling is not acupuncture.”
Is Dry Needling Painful?
Most people believe that dry needling is painful because it involves the use of a sterile needle, but that’s not true. It’s true that physical therapists insert the needle into the body of the patients, but that doesn’t mean it’s a painful process.
Most people do not feel any discomfort or pain with the insertion of the needle, but they do experience a type of sensation.
The insertion of the needle in the body will make you feel like a muscle cramp or a mild ache which won’t make you uncomfortable. After the process of dry needling is over, you may feel muscle soreness for a day or two. You can use heat and ice treatments to minimize muscle soreness. Apart from that, you can drink a lot of water and juice to reduce it.
You Can Use Dry Needling With Other Treatments
If you are someone who is seeking physical therapy treatment to address a variety of symptoms such as pain, stress, and headaches, etc., then your therapist can combine it with other physical therapy techniques such as massage therapy or manual therapy.
If used with other physical therapy techniques, dry needling can give you the best results in terms of relieving pain and restoring function.
Consult Only a Licensed Physical Therapist
Whenever you feel like seeking dry needling for relieving pain and improving your function, you should consult only a licensed physical therapist. If a physical therapist is willing to administer dry needling without having a valid license, you shouldn’t engage with their services.
So make sure that before you allow a physical therapist to offer dry needling to you, you should inquire about their license.
A licensed physical therapist is well-aware of the technicalities of how to perform dry needling effectively so that it doesn’t lead to pain and discomfort.
If you see a licensed physical therapist, they will check your range of motion, signs and symptoms, fitness level, and medical history before designing a care plan for you. The reason they evaluate all these things is that it helps in identifying the root cause of your problem.
Once your physical therapist identifies the primary cause of your pain, they then include a reliable technique like dry needling in your care plan to address your problem. And if they feel that combining some other physical therapy techniques with dry needling will give a better result, they will do that immediately.