Pain management with dry needling
A medical procedure that is offering many people pain relief when other options don't work.
For cramped muscles, many doctors recommend a cortisone shot or even acupuncture. But there are some practitioners who are trying something different.
It's a technique based on both these other approaches and its called dry needling. It can be used when other things haven't worked.
It's called dry needle therapy because it doesn't involve injecting liquids like cortisone or novocaine.
Though it uses acupuncture needles, it differs from acupuncture which focuses on energy channels flowing through the body.
"Dry needling is focused on the muscle belly itself and breaking down the tissue to release the spasm," said Dr. Andre Panagos of New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell.
Unlike a standard needle which has sharp edges and can cut the muscle, the smooth round point of the acupuncture needle separates rather than cuts muscle tissue.
So there's very little bleeding or swelling. The needle inserts and basically pokes it into the cramped muscle to spread apart the tight muscle fibers, kind of what happens with a deep massage. It doesn't look entirely painless.
Most people feel 80 percent better immediately and 100 percent better in a couple days some a little longer.