When a Massachusetts worker is injured on the job, a series of events is set into motion. Once the initial medical response is completed, a prognosis for recovery is determined, and the chosen treatment path begins. This is a period of significant adjustment for both the worker and his or her family, as everyone works to adapt to the needs of the patient. For many with neck and back injuries, pain management becomes a serious issue. While there are a range of drugs available to help deal with pain, many choose to pursue other remedies, including a technique called dry needling.
Dry needling is similar to acupuncture, in that tiny needles are inserted into the patient's skin. However, acupuncture practitioners follow ancient Chinese tradition that guides how and where the needles are placed. Dry needling is a far more targeted approach, and practitioners first determine which muscles are causing pain, then use a machine to locate the specific location within the muscle that should be targeted. The needles are used only on certain "trigger points" within the patient's musculature.
Those who promote this pain relief treatment claim the the process works by causing a disruption in the cycle of pain that exists between the trigger point and the patient's central nervous system. Patients who have experienced dry needling often claim a significant reduction in pain after just a few treatments. In addition, the treatment allows patients to achieve a reduction in pain without having to subject the body to a range of pharmaceuticals, which can lead to a whole new set of problems.
For those in Massachusetts who have experienced neck and back injuries while on the job, having the ability to pursue a wide range of treatment options is often the key to a positive end result. Alternative therapies such as dry needling are often not covered by health insurance, and can be expensive. Obtaining a favorable workers' compensation outcome can give patients and their families the financial ability to seek the best possible course of treatment.
Source: fox21news.com, "How does dry needling treat chronic pain?", Alison Mastrangelo, Jan. 28, 2015