Dry needling is a relatively new but growing form of physical therapy that is used to treat a variety of conditions, including neck pain. While traditional forms of physical therapy can be effective in treating neck pain, dry needling has gained popularity due to its minimally invasive nature and fast-acting results.
Whether your neck pain is caused by poor posture, repetitive motions or stress, dry needling may be able to help ease your pain. Knowing the basics of dry needling — including how it can be used to treat neck pain and what you can expect during a dry needling session — can help you better pursue a treatment plan that targets your neck pain symptoms.
Why are you feeling neck pain?
You may be feeling neck pain for a variety of reasons, including:
- Muscle strain — A muscle strain refers to slight tears that form in your muscle tissue, and it is one of the most common causes of a stiff neck.
- Repetitive strain injury — Repeatedly turning your head from side to side can cause you to develop a repetitive strain injury, which may refer to an injury of your tendons, ligaments or muscular tissue.
- Poor posture — Consistently sitting in a slouching position can place immense pressure on your neck, restricting blood flow and tightening the muscles around it.
- Excessive stress — If you’ve been stressed recently, you may be more prone to feeling neck stiffness, as you can hold emotional stress physically in your shoulders.
Does dry needling work for neck pain?
Dry needling is a technique that involves using fine, acupuncturelike needles to target tight, painful muscle fibers (trigger points) in the body. Studies have shown that dry needling can be effective in reducing neck pain and increasing movement.
During a dry needling session, your physical therapist will use a thin needle to penetrate your skin and target specific points in the muscle where pain and tightness are felt. The needle is inserted into the trigger point and then either left in place or moved in a specific direction to help release the tension.
Dry needling is just one of many techniques that physical therapists use to treat neck pain; the most effective treatment will depend on your specific condition and symptoms. A physical therapist can help determine if dry needling is an appropriate option for your neck pain and, if so, develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes dry needling as well as other evidence-based interventions.
What else can I do for neck pain?
Physical therapy can be a helpful treatment option for neck pain. The specific physical therapy treatments that will be most effective for your neck will depend on the underlying cause of your pain. However, some common physical therapy treatments for neck pain include:
- Manual therapy — In addition to using dry needling, physical therapists can use various manual techniques such as joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization to reduce muscle tension, improve joint mobility, and alleviate pain in your neck.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises — Physical therapists can design a personalized exercise program that targets specific muscles in your neck that are causing you pain. These exercises can help increase flexibility, range of motion, and strength in the neck.
- Posture training — Poor posture can often contribute to neck pain. Physical therapists can teach you proper posture techniques and exercises to help improve your neck alignment. When proper posture is used in conjunction with dry needling, you can ease your neck tension and pain.
- Therapeutic modalities — Physical therapists may also use other modalities in conjunction with dry needling, kinesiology taping, and cupping to reduce pain and inflammation in the neck.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for dry needling for neck pain
Dry needling may sound scary, but it is actually a scientifically backed way of releasing muscle tension and increasing blood flow.
If you’ve been dealing with neck pain for a long period of time, your physical therapist can introduce you to dry needling in a safe and professional environment. Still need a physical therapist? At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need.
Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you find a dry needling specialist for your neck pain.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Come find help for your neck injury or condition today!