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The Science Behind the Sting: All You Need to Know about Dry Needling



Dry Needling

If you’ve looked through physical therapy options for your injuries or chronic pain, you may have come across dry needling. As the name suggests, it’s a treatment method that can address pain and help you recover from injuries and other conditions. However, how does it work?

Well, Dry Needling and IMS in Kelowna are interchangeable terms for the same treatment method. IMS stands for Intramuscular Stimulation and it usually supplements massages, exercises and other physical therapy treatments to relieve pain. During dry needling, physical therapists(PT) insert sharp and thin needles through your skin to stimulate certain trigger points and enhance your body’s natural healing process.

The science behind dry needling

When you overuse your muscles after an intense run, workout or physical activity, the muscle fibres struggle for nutrients due to restricted blood flow. With poor nutrient absorption and restricted blood flow, your muscles have a hard time going back to their resting state. This affects the trigger points in that area and leaves you with a painful and sore feeling.

A dry needling physio stimulates those trigger points with thin needles and forces blood supply back to those areas to get rid of any acid buildup and relieve the tense fibres. Moreover, the slight sting you feel from those needles makes your brain release endorphins, the happiness hormone that acts as your homegrown painkiller.

The physio may move the inserted needles slightly when you opt for dry needling near me. No need to be intimidated during those times since the therapist is simply looking for a local Twitch response. Think of it as your muscle fibres reacting to the stimulation and it’s usually a good sign. 

Isn’t dry needling the same as acupuncture?

Both dry needling and acupuncture may seem like the same thing from a distance. Both treatment methods involve therapists using thin and sharp needles to treat your pain. However, the main difference lies in the principle and methodology the treatments are based on. While acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine, dry needling is based on neurophysiology and human anatomy.

Pain from the needles

Most people expect a lot of pain when looking for IMS needling near me. However, that’s certainly not the case. Initially, you might feel a bit of pain as the physio looks for trigger points or the tiny knots of muscle fibres. You might feel a prickling sensation as the needles go under your skin.

The needles are so thin and small that some don’t even feel them going in. When the needle reaches the trigger point and stimulates it, you’ll feel a bit of pain as tension gets released and blood flow returns to the area. However, that’s just temporary as you’ll feel relieved from the pain after the treatment.

Conditions where dry needling can help

As mentioned above, dry needling is usually recommended as a supplementary treatment at Kelowna health and wellness centres. It addresses pain and can help athletes or regular people recover from injuries. However, the scope for dry needling goes beyond that. It can help address:

  • Rotator cuff pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle strains
  • Tennis elbow
  • Hip pain
  • Neck pain
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Biceps tendinitis, and more.

Can everyone opt for dry needling?

While dry needling can help address injuries for most people, it shouldn’t be opted by everyone. For instance, it isn’t recommended for children under 12 with barely any pain tolerance. Moreover, for kids above the age of 12, both the child’s and parent’s consent is necessary.  As an adult, you shouldn’t opt for dry needling if you:

  • Have trypanophobia or a vivid fear of needles.
  • Had surgery within the past few months.
  • Are going through your pregnancy.
  • Are immunocompromised.
  • Take anticoagulant medicines.

Side effects of dry needling

There are some side effects to dry needling. However, most of them are temporary and last up to 48 hours after the treatment. Some of the side effects include:

  • Fainting(Very rare)
  • Fatigue
  • Skin reactions
  • Temporary pain, and more.

That’s why it’s important to consult with your doctor and physical therapist before opting for the treatment. They will perform physical exams and check your medical history as well to make sure that the treatment is right for you.

Dry needling acts as one of the powerful tools that physical therapists can use to help patients recover from physical trauma or pain. However, consulting your doctor and physical therapist is crucial since it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. While it has some temporary side effects, it’s important to figure out if it’s suitable for you. 

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