Dry Needling as a Treatment for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as any pain that persists longer than normal tissue healing time following an injury (2 weeks or longer). People commonly develop chronic pain after minor or major injuries, anything from a fender bender to a sprained ankle to major trauma involving surgery.  Typically, we find that patient’s get stuck in a ‘pain cycle’ which can be very hard to break.

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During your first visit at Red Canyon Physical therapy, a licensed Physical Therapist will take you through an extensive exam, determining painful positions, exacerbating activities, tightness, weakness, and trigger points in your body. All of these things will be addressed during your time at physical therapy and dry needling may be appropriate to address any trigger points and tightness leading to pain and dysfunction.

Trigger point dry needling uses thin filament needles which are inserted into very specific points within pathological muscles. Often, these trigger points refer pain to different regions of your body, creating large, diffuse pain regions which contribute to chronic pain. These needles are inserted directly into trigger points and create a spinal cord reflex or ‘twitch’ within the muscle. Often, patients report great relief from this treatment as other methods (massage/stretching, etc.) are unable to relieve their tightness. This ‘twitch’ stops the muscle from contracting and eliminates the trigger point. With this newfound range of motion and decreased pain, patients are able to take their muscle through it’s full range of motion and complete exercise with less pain.

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Trigger point dry needling is not appropriate for every patient but can be a very powerful tool when used correctly. This treatment can give patients suffering from chronic pain a window to exercise and hopefully break out of the pain cycle. Find your closest Red Canyon Physical Therapy location and set up an appointment today!