Also known as trigger point dry needling (TDN) or myofascial trigger point dry needling, it’s an alternative medicine technique similar to acupuncture. Your practitioner will use a thin filiform needle to poke the skin and stimulate trigger points in your body. The muscle will twitch and relax the trigger point, releasing tension, pressure or inflammation. Are you still like, "What the heck?" It's okay, you can learn more here.
Ok, I’m a liar. I did not try it. I’m not scared of needles or anything, but if I’m going to have a bunch of needles shoved in my skin, I hope it’s because I’m donating blood or getting a new tattoo. This one was a "nah" for me.
But! Before you think I've led you astray... I’ve attempted to redeem myself by talking with JD Kauffman, one of Fusion’s very own resident “cool dudes." He'll tell you all about his experience with dry needling. Read on!
What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?
Is there a difference? From my understanding, they’re very similar, as far as getting stuck with a small needle, but their location of the “stick” depends on what you’re going for. Acupuncture is general body needling to help with a number of different ailments, and dry needling is sticking that little needle directly into a trigger point to relieve pain of a certain area.
Why did you decide to do dry needling?
My friend's wife practices this for work as a PT and offered to help me with an injury. Stretching, ice and heat weren’t helping, and this was a great way to get quick results!
What area did you have “needled”?
I’ve had my hip flexors and bicep dry needled. I’ve seen them stick needles into a lot of different body parts, and it’s pretty interesting to see where and how they can hit a certain spot or muscle!
Ok, we gotta ask… did it hurt?
The poke doesn’t necessarily “hurt”, but it is a very unique sensation when they’re ‘digging’ around trying to relieve the pressure! Basically, they’re sticking a needle directly into a painfully knotted muscle trying to get it to relax. Sometimes the muscle ‘jumps’ around, but as they hit the spot you can feel it loosening the area of concern.
How long does dry needling take?
The process doesn’t take long at all… maybe 10-15 minutes (max) for her to locate the precise area of concern and needle it.
Describe your experience during the procedure?
You’re sitting or laying there, and they identify the area with their fingers and or movements. After you’re like, “Ow, that’s the spot!” – she grabs the needle… a slight prick and away she goes! As I mentioned, you’ll feel the spot moving around as the needle goes in/out of it repeatedly.
Describe your how you felt immediately after the procedure?
Immediately after, the spot was a bit sore from being poked and prodded. You certainly can tell it just got “worked”! haha.
Describe how you felt a week or more after the procedure? We’re there any lasting effects?
The next day is usually a bit tender, but within 24-48 hours you’re already noticing a difference (for the better)!
Was this a one-time procedure, or reoccurring appointments?
I’ve had her hit certain areas a few times over the past few years, but it usually fixes me up pretty good for quite some time! I like to stay active, and if I ever get a flare up that’s hindering me above and beyond normal, I try to get an appointment to get me back up and running at full speed.
Do you feel this benefited you?
I do feel like this has helped me! I struggled to run more than 5-6 miles without my hips getting extremely tight, but I got needled 2 weeks before my half marathon and had NO issues during my race.
What are some advice points for anyone considering dry needling?
Try to find someone who can help you understand the process and what they’re hoping to accomplish. My PT friend has been great, as we’re able to communicate directly about the pains, concerns, and reactions the body/muscle is feeling.
Thanks for sharing, JD!
So, there you have it, friends. You've got all the deets, now go make your appointment and see if dry needling is right for you. And if you're looking for other health and wellness trends to try, check out our blog on kombucha or read about our experience with personal aromatherapy diffusers... we have something new for everybody to try!