Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

Why is my physical therapist talking about using dry needling for my sciatica?

Dry Needling for Sciatica

Many people are wary of anything that involves needles, so they may not be keen when their physical therapist wants to use dry needling for their sciatica. 

Sciatica affects up to 40% of people in their lifetime. Physical therapy can be a potent treatment option for this painful nerve condition. You have probably heard about physical therapists using stretches and other therapeutic exercises to address this condition. But you may not have heard how useful dry needling can be for sciatica. 

Three reasons dry needling can be helpful for sciatica

Dry needling is a physical therapy technique designed to address knots in muscles and fascia. These knots are typically called myofascial trigger points (MTPs) by medical pros. Sciatica typically occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated, and the root cause of this condition can be muscle tension from MTPs. Some reasons that your physical therapist may want to use dry needling for MTPs that are aggravating the sciatic nerves include: 

  1. It doesn’t use the needles you’re expecting — The needles used for dry needling aren’t like those used on syringes or other needles medical professionals have used on you. They’re super thin. “How thin,” you ask? They’re about the same thickness as a monofilament fishing line. This means that they tend to cause little discomfort when they’re inserted. 
  1. It can help ease muscle tension — Think about a time when you had a knot in one of your muscles. It probably felt tense and sore. It may also have felt less so when you moved it either by stretching or massaging the area. Dry needling allows physical therapists to target MTPs that aren’t close to the skin’s surface. Placing the thin needle in the MTP prompts a movement called a twitch response from your body. This movement helps break up the MTP and the tension it’s storing, which can help ease the pressure on the sciatic nerve. 
  1. Your sciatica pain can be eased — Easing tension from MTPs is one reason dry needling is useful for reducing sciatica pain. However, this technique can also improve blood flow to the painful area. How can this help your pain? Your body’s natural painkillers, called endorphins, travel in your bloodstream. Improved blood flow allows more endorphins to get to the painful area; thus, you may feel less pain. 

Find a place to get dry needling for your sciatica at Peak Performance

Want to find out if dry needling could be helpful for your sciatica? Our Peak Performance Sports & Physical Therapy team can help you find out. Our team includes dry needling experts who can examine you and determine if this technique is right for you. Our physical therapists can also combine dry needling with other physical therapy methods to yield a treatment plan that can: 

  • Reduce your pain. 
  • Improve your lower body flexibility and function. 
  • Decrease your chances of future sciatica. 

Contact us today for more information about our sciatica treatment options or to schedule an initial appointment.