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Dry Needling For Tendonitis Pain Relief – Does It Work?

Dry Needling For Tendonitis Pain Relief – Does It Work?

What Happens When A Tendon Is Damaged?

A tendon is a tough, fibrous cord that attaches muscle to bone. When a tendon is injured, the body starts a healing response. The surrounding tissue shifts and thickens, forming a scab over the injury.

The healing process is gradual, and the tendon will continue to be weak and vulnerable to re-injury during this time, therefore it is best to avoid strenuous activity. When this tendon is not allowed to heal properly and continues to be irritated the quality of the tendon continues to worsen, new blood vessels penetrate the tissue to try and heal it and it becomes increasingly less elastic, fragile and sensitive.

Dry Needling and Physical Therapy for Treating Tendonitis

Combining physical therapy with dry needling is the best way to treat tendonitis, reduce and relieve pain, and recover from a tendon injury. First, physical therapy aims to improve the strength of the muscles affected by the related tendonitis. That is followed by the restoration of the primary function in the joint. Pain reduction will follow after a couple of dry needling sessions and physical therapy.

Muscles contract and relax when a practitioner targets trigger points. Inserting and removing the needle produces a stimulative effect inside the muscle. In addition, the result is immediate muscle relief of tightness and pressure. Lastly, pain and inflammation are either eliminated or greatly reduced.

How Long Do The Effects Of Dry Needling Last?

It’s typical to feel a little pain after dry needling, often in the first 24-48 hours. This should be interpreted as a good thing as it often reflects the fresh inflammatory process that we have purposely initiated. From this point onwards the pain will settle as your body moves towards the next stage of healing. The duration of the benefits will last differently depending on the person and depends on the technique used (ie. trigger point needling vs direct needling of the tendon). The first few treatments usually provide a short period of relief that lasts a few days, but then it should improve with each session. In the experience of our clinicians dry needling to the tendon even once or twice has had dramatic and long lasting effects.

Remember though dry needling and “modalities” such as these are akin to jump starting a car. It’s a great addition to a treatment programme but should always be performed within the context of a tailored rehabilitation programme that includes correcting biomechanics or training errors, altering loading volumes, and progressive strengthening where appropriate.

It has been proven that combining dry needling treatment with physical therapy is the best way to treat chronic tendinosis and relieve pain. Strengthening the muscles will increase the chance of faster healing and fully restoring the joint’s primary function. Combining these two treatments will reduce the pain and inflammation after only a couple of sessions.

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