If you're having muscle pain after a sports injury, your doctor might send you to physical therapy to have dry needling done. This treatment can help with pain and healing, and it involves putting needles in trigger points in your muscles. Trigger points are the sore knots you sometimes get in your muscles due to an injury or repetitive motion.

Here's how dry needling works. 

The Needles Are Small And Tolerable

The needles are like the long, thin needles used for acupuncture. However, dry needling and acupuncture are two different treatments. Acupuncture needles are inserted on set points on your body along energy meridians. Dry needles are inserted in your muscles. The location varies according to where your trigger point is. The therapist has to press on your muscles to find the knot so they know where to insert the needle.

Since the needles are small, this treatment usually isn't painful. However, since your muscle is sore already, you may experience discomfort that is tolerable. On an initial treatment, you may have one or two needles inserted. The following treatments might have several needles used depending on your condition. They are called dry because the needles aren't hollow inside and don't deliver medication or fluid.

The Therapist Feels For Trigger Points

The first step in a dry needling treatment is for your therapist to find a trigger point. They do this by pressing your body until you let them know they've found a sore spot. They'll then insert a sterile, disposable needle through your skin. The depth depends on the type of treatment you're getting. The needle might not go very deep, and it might stop right above your muscle knot.

The other approach is to insert the needle into the knot. The needle might be left in place for several minutes or just a few minutes. The therapist might also insert the needle multiple times without withdrawing it completely. The therapist explains the procedure step by step so you know what to expect.

The Results Include Pain Relief And Improved Blood Flow

Dry needling results can help with pain relief immediately or over the long term. The needle stimulates blood circulation and improved oxygenation. The needle stimulation can also help with flexibility. The knot in your muscle is released when the needle punctures it, and that can relax the muscle and allow it to function more normally with less pain and an improved range of motion.

Dry needling is a treatment you may want to try when you're dealing with muscle pain. You might notice an improvement in your condition after one or two sessions, but it might take longer. Your physical therapist or physician can help you decide if this type of treatment is right for you.

Contact a dry needling service provider for more info.