Dry Needling: Is It Right For Athletes?

Every athlete runs the risk of injuring themselves in the process of doing what they love. While some never completely recover from their injuries, others find relief in dry needling, also known as trigger point dry needling. 

Here, we’ll go over what dry needling is, how athletes use this treatment to recover from injuries, and whether this treatment is right for you.


What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a treatment that involves the insertion of a thin filament needle into the muscle. In turn, this treats muscle spasms and pain by releasing the affected area, also known as trigger points. 

For many, dry needling offers the long-lasting relief they’ve been looking for. Dry needling seeks these trigger points and releases them, which improves your blood flow and releases tension in the muscles. It also activates endorphins, which relieve stress and pain.

Moreover, this technique is used by many experts in the healthcare field, like those found at Primal Physical Therapy. The physical therapists here share that athletes are some of their favorite people to work with because they display a willingness to get back to the gym or the field. This is important because it shows they’re willing to do what it takes to get back to optimal condition. And many times, dry needling is the treatment best for them.

How Do I Know If Dry Needling Is Right for Me?

Athletes have rigorous training regimens, putting extra stress on their bodies. Not allowing the muscles time to heal in between training regiments causes stress. This extra stress reduces blood flow to the muscles. If the muscle is not receiving proper blood flow, it’s also not receiving the oxygen and nutrients it needs. The prolonged contraction will cause the tissue around the muscle to become acidic. 

Athletes who experience the following symptoms may benefit from a trigger point injection:  

⦁ Pain when pressure is applied to trigger point

⦁ Pain radiating from the trigger point

⦁ Tenderness in affected areas

⦁ Muscle spasms or twitches

Please note that this treatment is for anyone that’s experience chronic pain, not just athletes.

When Will I Be Back at the Gym?

A dry needling session lasts about 20 minutes. After the procedure, experts say you may experience a low level of pain. However, patients will notice that mobility instantly improves after a session. Soreness in the area treated is common, but muscle fatigue is even more so. These symptoms may occur for up to 24 hours and some people experience soreness for 48 hours. It’s important to remain active, which is why many physical therapists will walk the patient through some exercises after each dry needling session. 

Speak with your physical therapist about when the right time to get back to the gym would be. It varies from person to person. It may be as soon as after your first dry needling session or as long as a few months. 

Is Dry Needling Right For You?

Dry needling has grown in popularity among healthcare professionals and patients. Among the many benefits of this type of therapy, patients will experience pain relief. Also, note that this treatment isn’t limited to just athletes. This is a treatment designed for anyone that wants to reduce pain, improve mobility, or recover from an injury as quickly as possible.

If you are experiencing acute or chronic muscle pain, it may be time to see if trigger point dry needling is the right treatment for you. With routine and well-planned maintenance procedures, anyone can achieve optimal recovery and attain the best results through dry needling.

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