Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting over 30 million U.S. adults, according to the CDC. Knee osteoarthritis, in particular, accounts for a large portion of the disease’s total burden. As dry needling is becoming increasingly popular, many knee arthritis sufferers have had these treatments recommended to them. However, some patients may be a bit apprehensive about this unique treatment. We’re outlining everything you need to know about dry needle acupuncture for knee arthritis, in order to answer any questions you might have.

Understanding Osteoarthritis of the Knee

The cartilage in our knees is a slippery tissue that allows for joints to move freely without friction. Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when this protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your knee joints wears down over time. Without the shock-absorbing cushion, the result is pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, or even swelling in the knee area.

Treating Knee Arthritis with Dry Needle Acupuncture

Though there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, researchers have discovered that dry needle acupuncture is a promising treatment for relieving the painful symptoms of arthritis of the knee. When dry needling is performed, small needles are inserted into different points around the knee. When these needles are inserted into the knee, improved blood flow results in the knee, resulting in oxygenation and aiding the removal of toxins from surrounding tissue.

Dry Needling for Knee Pain

Additionally, higher levels of beta-endorphins become present in the blood. Beta-endorphins are a type of neuropeptide that plays an important role in pain management. These endorphins create morphine-like effects, acting as our body’s natural pain and stress fighters. Within the peripheral nervous system, these beta-endorphins bind with the opiate receptors in the nerve synapses in order to reduce our perception of pain. Because dry needling increases these beta-endorphins while also decreasing cortisol, patients experience pain relief and feelings of overall relaxation following treatment.

What to Expect During Knee Treatment

During your treatment, small needles are inserted into different points around the knee. The knee joint consists of 3 main compartments (medial, lateral, patellofemoral), and so your particular problem area (or the nuances of your osteoarthritis case), will determine how your physician decides to position the needles into the surrounding muscle tissue of your knee. When you undergo dry needle acupuncture for knee arthritis, generally speaking, physicians typically use anywhere from 4-8 points of insertion, but again, this may vary. Your physician may target muscles in your lower leg, front or back of the thigh, inner or outer thigh, or even near the back of your hips.

What to Expect After Your Knee Treatment

Although there may be some temporary discomfort during your dry needling session, patients generally find that this temporary discomfort or soreness well worth the long-term pain relief they experience for their knees. Most patients feel a stinging sensation as the needle is inserted and removed, but this usually lasts no longer than a second. It is also common for patients to experience a muscle spasm or “twitch” at the point of insertion (this twitching is an indication that the muscle is “resetting”). Generally, patients experience a marked improvement in knee pain immediately after just one treatment. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that most physicians recommend more than one course of dry needling (usually 4-6) as a trial of care.

Turn to Dry Needle Pain Relief in Jacksonville, FL

For many patients seeking natural solutions for osteoarthritis pain relief, dry needling is a valuable treatment. If pain from knee osteoarthritis is affecting your quality of life or preventing you from enjoying your favorite activities, Dry Needle Pain Relief of Jacksonville can help. Our goal is to bring pain relief and injury recovery to the Jacksonville area through our team of experienced physicians and proven techniques. To learn more about dry needle acupuncture for knee arthritis, contact us today to book an appointment!