Top 5 Conditions Helped by Functional Dry Needling

Conditions helped by functional dry needling include improved range of motion, alleviation of pain, tension relief, and calming of muscle spasms. It is different from acupuncture in that it focuses on the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems vs. acupuncture which focuses on internal organ dysfunction or the balance of acupuncture meridians.

What is Dry Needling?

Functional dry needling has been a proven treatment technique for muscle, tendon, and connective tissue pain since the 1940s. It is safe and an effective technique for patients with certain musculoskeletal issues or pain. The technique uses extremely fine, solid, stainless steel filiform needles that vary in length. The size needle selected for treatment depends on the depth of the tissue being treated. The needle is inserted into the body at a trigger point on a muscle, which causes it to contract and then relax.

What Conditions is Functional Dry Needling Used For?

Dry Needling can be used in many conditions, but there are several where it is particularly effective and long lasting. Here are the top five conditions helped by functional dry needling.

1. Chronic Headaches and Migraines

If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, you know the pain can be very disruptive to your life. Dry needling is a minimally invasive therapy that can relieve pain without drugs. Most headaches are rooted in the suboccipital muscles, which are the muscles at the very base of the skull where your head and neck meet. These muscles are responsible for most tension headaches and migraines. By treating the muscles with dry needling, it causes them to relax and the tension to subside, which greatly improves or eliminates the pain.

Dry Needling on the neck of a patient to relieve muscle tension and muscle spasms

2. Limited Range of Motion

When patients have limited range of motion, it is often due to tightness in the muscles or a buildup of scar tissue. Dry needling allows for your doctor to get into the tight muscles mechanically and help them release. With dry needling, your doctor typically needs one to two sessions to get deep into the muscle tissue and release the tension at those trigger points, therefore increasing your range of motion.

Dry Needling on Shoulder Before and After

3. Post Surgical or Post Injury Care

Dry needling increases blood flow and breaks up scar tissue, which results in faster healing of a wound or injury. Often we recommend that dry needling be combined with laser therapy in these instances because the two work really well together to promote faster healing. Laser therapy packs a lot of good energy into the cells it is treating. Dry needling focuses tension release in certain trigger points. Your doctor will first laser the treatment area and then use the dry needles to pinpoint focus that energy down into a specific place. Dry needling combined with laser therapy is a one-two punch that works on most everything in the body.

Class IV Laser on Patient

4. Relief from Musculoskeletal Pain

Dry Needling can be used for most of the musculoskeletal regions within the body. Lower back pain is one of the most common visits in chiropractor’s offices and it can significantly benefit from this treatment. One of the most common forms of lower back pain is Myofascial trigger points. When these specific trigger points are activated, the tender and stiff “knots” of bundled spinal muscles start to unwind. This process can immediately start alleviating symptoms of radiating pain from lower back, hip, groin, stomach, glutes, tailbone, and/or thigh. Dry needling breaks up the muscle knots, releasing the tension and relieving the pain. Research has shown that dry needling coupled with spinal adjustments, spinal decompression and other office modalities has a long lasting effect of reducing and eliminating lower back pain.

chiropractor working on a frozen shoulder patient

5. Sports Injuries and Strains

Dry needling can aid in recovery from sports related injuries or overuse of muscles. These sports related injuries do not have to be recent. Old sports injuries caused by excessive exertion can also be treated with dry needling. Old injuries generally build scar tissue and dry needling can break this up and help increase range of motion.

knee joint pain


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