Pros and Cons of Dry Needling
Trigger Point Dry needling is the new frontier for treating musculoskeletal pain. A growing number of physical therapists in America have started using it, finding that it's an effective way to treat around 10% of the adult population complaining of acute or chronic pain.
The treatment method has gained popularity in the last three decades for curing musculoskeletal pain. If you also have faced musculoskeletal problems lately, chances are, you must have heard about Trigger Point Dry Needling. If so, you must do your homework and understand the Pros and Cons of dry needling first.
Things to Know About Dry Needling
Trigger point dry needling, or trigger point therapy as it is commonly known, has gained widespread acceptance since the 1980s. Trigger points are specific localized spots or tiny nerves of tissue that are painful when pressure is applied. New evidences suggest that dry needling targets Neural, Muscular, and Connective Tissues, not just trigger points.
Dry needling involves inserting a thin needle into the affected tissue, which is then manipulated to help reduce pain and ease stiffness. It can be performed on almost any muscle and many other body parts, including ligaments, tendons, bursae, and fascial planes.
Dry needling is a treatment that involves using needles to disrupt the nerve impulse and reduce pain sensation. Dry needling can be used for many conditions, such as chronic neck pain, tension headaches, lower back pain, tennis elbow, and impingement syndrome.
A dry needle insertion does not require an injection of any fluid or medication into the patient's body. The long or short-term pros and cons of dry needling will help you better understand whether it could help your condition.
Some Pros of Dry Needling
Dry needling therapy is on the rise in the US, given its health benefits and little to no adverse effects. People with musculoskeletal pain generally undergo the therapy because it’s faster, less painful, and non-invasive. You must acknowledge the following pros of dry needling therapy if you doubt its efficacy.
1. Precise treatment
Dry needling allows the therapists to target specific muscles and acupuncture points that cause pain. Because of this, it is very precise compared to other types of treatment, such as manual therapy or stretching techniques, which can help a larger area rather than pinpoint painful trigger points.
Trigger Point Dry needling targets the specific points and offer relief as tiny needles enter into these issues to relax and release their tension on surrounding muscle structures. The needle insertion stimulates stretch receptors (muscle spindles) and pressure receptors (Golgi tendon organs).
This inhibition process causes the muscle tissue to relax around the point where the needle was inserted, which decreases your pain levels.
2. Faster recovery is one of the common pros of Dry Needling
Dry needling can help you recover faster compared to other types of treatment. It has been shown that dry needling speeds up patients' return time from injury and increases their range of motion by promoting blood flow around injured tissue which provides nutrients for the cells to repair themselves.
This reduces pain, swelling, muscle spasms, and inflammation associated with your condition allowing it to heal quickly. Dry needling is also known for speeding up patients' healing process after surgery because it helps reduce scar formation in damaged tissues.
3. Dry Needling helps improve posture
Dry needling can improve your posture, which is important for preventing injuries in the future. Posture plays a huge role in both proper biomechanics and physical health.
Poor postural habits result in poor body mechanics, imbalances within muscles, excessive stress on joints and bones, and pain throughout your entire body.
Dry needling has been shown to help reduce muscular hypertonicity (tension) by relaxing overactive muscles that resist ideal alignment of the spine. This helps patients suffering from the upper or lower crossed syndrome, common conditions associated with bad postures.
4. Less invasive than other treatments
One of the major benefits of dry needling is that it’s a less invasive treatment compared to manual therapies or exercises. This means that it can be used on patients who cannot participate in these types of procedures due to their condition.
Dry needling has also been an effective alternative for reducing pain levels when the patient cannot tolerate the side effects of medications, injections, and surgeries.
5. Dry Needling Can Be Combined with Treatments
Dry needling may be used alone or in combination with other treatments to relieve various ailments. Dry needling might be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies to alleviate discomfort.
Electrical stimulation may enhance the dry needling treatment for those who have persistent musculoskeletal problems, such as chronic low back pain.
What are the Cons of Dry Needling?
Although there are many benefits, some major cons of dry needling should be considered before getting treated, whether following this technique or receiving treatment.
1. Bruising and Swelling
Needles could cause bruising and swelling around the area where they are inserted, which may not be suitable for some patients with certain conditions or if their skin is very thin, causing them to bruise easily.
Dry needling can also make your pain worse in the short term because of this increased inflammation before it starts decreasing your pain levels after a few days.
People with bleeding disorders should avoid dry needling since needles may cause internal bleeding, resulting in a larger risk of complications.
2. Allergic Reaction
Some patients may be allergic to the material of needles, such as titanium which is used for dry needling. This could cause a rash, itching, and redness around the area where needles are inserted if you have an allergy to them.
If this occurs after treatment, your doctor should stop performing it on you immediately since there is a risk that continuing with these treatments will worsen your condition or even result in death due to anaphylactic shock from allergies.
Dry needling is a very precise technique that can be dangerous if done incorrectly or by untrained professionals. Even when performed correctly, dry needling might injure the patient, especially on more sensitive areas such as around your eyes and mouth.
If you have any sores or open wounds, it may also cause infections from bacteria that live within needles that are not always sterilized before use. In rare cases, the needle could damage another part of your body during insertion resulting in serious injuries like nerve damage and paralysis.
4. Temporary Pain is Common Among the Cons of Dry Needling Therapy
One of the advantages of dry needling is that it provides quick results, but this also means that your pain levels will increase at first before decreasing after a few days. This may be uncomfortable for some patients, especially if they suffer from severe conditions such as cancer that require relief as quickly as possible. Dry needling can sometimes make you feel worse until your body starts to respond better to these treatments over time with consistent sessions.
5. Expensive Treatment
Dry needling therapy costs somewhere between $30 and $85, which may come as a surprise to many; the amount is still huge enough compared to the price of painkiller drugs.
Dry needling is a relatively expensive treatment option compared to other procedures since it requires the purchase of specialized equipment and professional licenses.
Insurance companies usually cover these costs, but if you have limited coverage, this could be an issue for you, which may cause some people not to afford these services in their area.
6. It requires practice to be done correctly
Dry needling is a highly skilled procedure that requires extensive training from professionals before performing on patients. This process should only involve experienced doctors and physical therapists who have completed training courses to practice this technique.
In addition, these clinicians also use medical equipment such as syringes which require regular maintenance and proper sterilization procedures every time they are used for treatment sessions.
Though it's one of the rarest cons of dry needling, you must have your end secured to ensure better safety for both yourself and the therapist.
Final Comments on dry needling pros and cons
The pain relief that dry needling provides is amazing, but it’s important to remember that this technique does come with some risks. For instance, many different kinds of needles are used for the procedure, and not all are sterile or disposable.
Make sure you know exactly what kind of needle will be used before your appointment so you can ask questions about safety precautions beforehand. You can weigh the pros and cons of dry needling therapy and speculate the possible outcomes easily.