With sciatica, a burning or sharp pain that radiates from the lower back to the hips, and on one of the legs is experienced. Those with spinal stenosis or a herniated disc are commonly affected. Sciatica has several treatments and physical therapy is one way to alleviate its symptoms. Among the effective treatments used by physical therapy experts is dry needling and we take a look at dry needling for sciatica.
What is dry needling?
Dry needling is also referred to as trigger point therapy and it is a technique used by physical therapists to relieve chronic pain and to also hinder future injuries. It may also be used by doctors, nurses, and chiropractors. Mostly, it is highly effective when accompanied by other treatments. Needles are used for pain relief like in acupuncture but the two are different. While acupuncture aims at relieving pain through balancing the energy of the body, dry needling stimulates and unknots the trigger points that bring about the pain.
Suggested article: Acupuncture For Sciatica – Will Acupuncture Help Sciatica?
Dry needling for sciatica
With sciatica, a lot of pain is experienced and it is also characterized by a pinching and numbing sensation. With dry needling, experts use hair thin needles and puncture the patient’s skin so as to get to the knotted muscle. Once the needle is put into the skin, the therapist manipulates it before its removal. With this, a twitch is felt that makes the tissue to depolarize. If necessary, the process is repeated on other trigger points (the origins of the pain).
Can dry needling help sciatica?
Sciatica may be caused by muscle tension that pulls and misaligns the spine to cause its symptoms. Dry needling will relieve tension felt within the body’s soft tissues such as ligaments, muscles, fascia, and tendons. Those that are experts of this practice believe that when the tissues are punctured, they stimulate blood flow to the affected area and thereby, soothe the pain. Inserting the needle helps the muscles to return to their elasticity and original length to release pain.
Whereby sciatica is caused by lumbar stenosis, the procedure reduces the tightness in the spinal muscles to reduce vertebrae and sciatic nerve compression. If the pain is reaching the back of the leg, the targeted trigger points are the piriformis muscles, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Here, the trigger points are tense areas of the back muscles. When released, the muscles are caused to relax and allow the spine to return to normal alignment.
With dry needling, the initial prick may cause discomfort or pressure against the skin. This is very normal and often, slight pain will subside in 2 hours to 2 days. It is recommended to couple dry needling with other therapies, exercise, and a proper diet since it is part of a comprehensive treatment.
Sciatica can cause one hellacious pain which if goes untreated or is not managed can turn chronic. Alongside other treatment options that are used, dry needling for sciatica is just as effective and it will help to reduce the pain felt by patients.
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