Dry Needling Therapy for Pain Relief

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Get pricked to ease muscle pain? A complimentary treatment called dry needling may work. Though the jury's still out, here's what happens.

A physical therapist inserts thin needles with no medicine on them through your skin and into the painful muscle. Some people say this doesn't hurt. Others feel a prick, cramp, or twitch.

One goal is to stimulate a tense spot, called a trigger point. If the needle finds it, tight muscle bands may relax, which can ease your discomfort and help you move better.

So what's the difference between this and acupuncture? Acupuncturist believe our bodies have pathways of vital energy. When energy gets blocked, it can cause pain. Inserting needles along the pathways eases the pain, they say.

If you want to give dry needling a shot, find a licensed physical therapist who's certified to practice it. Get your doctor's OK first, and keep up with your regular treatment plans.