When we overexert ourselves and damage our tissues, pain is usually an indication that it may be time to seek medical attention. If you’re suffering from a musculoskeletal injury—injury to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments or nerves—physical therapy may be your best option for full recovery.
Musculoskeletal injuries can be caused by actions as simple as falls or direct hits to the muscles, and include fractures, sprains and dislocations. One physical therapy treatment that is growing in popularity for these injuries is dry needling. Dry needling uses a thin needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues to decrease pain and restore full range of movement. I tell my patients to imagine a physical therapist placing a needle directly into their muscles’ “knots” to loosen them and promote tissue healing.
Dry needling is appropriate for treatment of numerous diagnoses ranging from acute injuries to chronic conditions, and can be performed on individuals of all ages. Some of the benefits include:
- Decreased pain
- Decreased movement impairments
- Increased blood flow to tissues
- Increased muscle relaxation
- Decreased banding (tightness) in muscles, allowing the muscle to contract with less pain
- Decreased inflammation in the tissues