For all of you folks in Frederick (and other places!) who are skeptical and reluctant to blindly believe what other people tell you… I am very proud of you! Since I have been dry needling pretty frequently here in my Frederick office, I thought I would gather some research in case anyone was interested in learning more about what dry needling can help. As usual, I found some unexpected and really exciting research surrounding dry needling, and I hope you enjoy learning about it! I encourage you to follow the links, look at the studies, and then come see my in my Frederick office if you think dry needling can help you! And please share this information with a friend it may really help someone find the relief they’ve been looking for!
A case study in 2014 demonstrated the effectiveness of dry needling in a case of plantar fasciitis, after two months of conventional treatment failed to sustain results. “After four treatments over two weeks, the patient felt a 60% to 70% reduction in pain” and was able to return “to his daily activities.” This is a significantly shorter time than his initial conventional treatment (two weeks vs. two months), and his dry needling treatment allowed him to return to activities without pain (which he was not able to do after receiving his first round of conventional treatments).
A 2014 study determined that “a single session of trigger point dry needling may decrease neck pain intensity and widespread pressure pain sensitivity, and also increase active cervical [neck] range of motion.” These results lasted at least a week (they didn’t check the study participants after one week), though longer lasting results may require more frequent treatments.
Dry needling to the muscles surrounding the knee has been shown to be an “effective and efficient intervention to assist patients in decreasing pain and returning to high intensity physical activity.”
Dry needling the painful muscles around the shoulder of a patient with frozen shoulder syndrome, in combination with spinal adjustments and shoulder mobilizations, greatly improved the outcome of the treatment. After 6 weeks, (total of 13 treatments), “the patient had achieved significant improvements in shoulder range of motion in all planes, and outcome measures [the questionnaires that ask about how bad/debilitating a condition is] were significantly improved.”
Hamstring tendinopathy, an overuse injury seen in some runners, is a difficult condition to treat. After 8-9 treatments over 8-10 weeks (roughly one treatment per week), runners being treated with dry needling and exercises saw reductions in “pain, tenderness, and function,” and “returned to running and sitting without symptoms.”
When dry needling of the temporomandibular muscles is combined with manipulation of the spine and jaw, “improvements in pain intensity, disability, and maximal mouth opening“ have been demonstrated. These improvements lasted at least two months, and could be longer (though the study did not follow up past two months).
After receiving weekly sessions of dry needling for 6 weeks, patients saw significant improvements in pain, fatigue, pressure pain threshold (aka decreased sensitivity of muscles and skin), and overall (global) improvements in their well-being. These results lasted at least 6 weeks, but like the TMD study, were not assessed after the 6-week period.
Trigger points are the tender parts in muscles that make them painful, especially when you apply pressure to them. They will refer pain to other parts of the body as well. A study in 2014 that compared traditional trigger point release (with hands) with dry needling found that “dry needling produces an improvement in pain intensity, pain pressure threshold [how sensitive the muscle is to pain], and [the] Disability of Arm, Hand, Shoulder (DASH) [questionnaire].” They also recommended that that dry needling be prescribed for trapezius trigger points, “especially when pain relief is the goal of the treatment.”
A 2014 study found that “a single session of deep dry needling decreases spasticity and widespread pressure sensitivity in individuals with poststroke spasticity.” Reducing spasticity is imperative for patients to be able to move and have functional use of the limbs, and reducing pressure sensitivity greatly helps with reducing pain.