Bianca Castro

Patients Turn to Dry Needling for Pain Relief

Computers, commuting and even kids are just a few of the life stresses that can cause tension knots.

Massages may help, but some physical therapists are suggesting needles instead.

Dry needling may look like acupuncture, but instead of directing energy, physical therapists use the needles to release tight muscles.

"We're going to put that needle right where I think that trigger point is. From there, the needle is inserted at a perpendicular angle. We're going to go down towards that trigger point," said Bobby Curtis, physical therapist at Vista Physical Therapy.

The needles break up muscle tissue to relieve pain.

Some hospitals have reportedly begun using dry needling in the emergency rooms as an alternative to prescribing opioids.

Small business owner Lisa Ransom began getting dry needling treatments once a week about a year ago to treat tension knots in her shoulders and neck.

"It was almost an emotional thing. I was like, 'I think I'm gonna cry,' and he was like, 'Sometimes you do,' because it was such a relief to not be in pain," Ransom said, describing a dry needling session that relieved a week-long headache.

"More often than not, they get up and go, 'Oh, my gosh, it's gone,' or that it's like 30, 40, 50 percent better in five minutes," Curtis said.

Some health insurance plans will cover the costs, depending on an overall physical therapy treatment plan.

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