Osteoarthritis and Dry Needling
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Osteoarthritis or OA is the most common joint disorder in the United States. Researchers estimate up to 37 percent of adults from 45 to 60 years of age are affected by knee OA. Hip and knee OA are ranked as the eleventh highest contributor to global disability in patients with chronic pain.
OA is a degeneration of articular cartilage, the protective cushion between joints. This can result in joint pain, stiffness in the morning or after rest, decreased joint range of motion, and pain at night.
While cartilage won’t regenerate or heal itself, there are things you can do to slow the process and reduce pain. The worst thing you can do is avoid moving around! A strengthening and stretching program can be very beneficial and can improve pain and mobility significantly.
Dry needling is a technique in which a skilled and certified practitioner places “acupuncture” needles, which are very thin monofilament needles, into targeted areas around the injury. Often, electrical stimulation is added to the needles for an improved response. Studies show that dry needling can reduce pain by decreasing inflammatory markers and improving blood circulation to deep structures, which may play a role in the degenerative process in OA.
Research has shown that dry needling, along with manual therapy and strengthening exercises, has been shown to improve outcomes in patients more than strengthening alone. According to the research, dry needling can be an important adjunct to strengthening exercises and manual therapy for adults affected by OA.