Dry needling may sound scary, but we promise that it’s not! It is a completely safe technique where a physical therapist can treat myofascial pain by using a dry, or unmedicated, needle and inserting it into the skin at trigger points.
TDN uses a small, solid needle that is inserted in a painful knotted muscle to create a local twitch reflex which is both diagnostic and therapeutic. When a needle is inserted into the muscle, it also produces a small controlled lesion that will cut between three to fifteen thousand individual muscle fibers. The body considers the needle as a foreign object and will kick start the immune system to help protect the body.
Why do people get dry needling?
Dry needling is typically a part of a much larger treatment plan for patients. The goal of the treatment is to release or deactivation trigger points that are causing pain by reducing muscle tension and normalizing dysfunctions. The hope is to use dry needling to speed up the patient’s return to an active rehabilitation program.
Is it similar to acupuncture?
There are some similarities to acupuncture, but many differences as well. Dry needling falls within the scope of acupuncture, but physical therapists are not licensed acupuncturists. The physical therapists that are licensed are able to use dry needling in their practices. Acupuncture originated in china over 5000 years ago and is based on the belief that health is determined by a balance of vital life energies, but dry needling is based on western medicine and procedures.
What can dry needling treat?
This form of treatment can help alleviate pain from a variety of conditions, including:
- Acute/Chronic injuries
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- Neck/Back pain
- Muscle Spasms
- Muscle strains
- “Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow”
- Overuse injuries
After treatment, patients can expect increased range of motion, ease of movement and decreased signs and symptoms of their condition. Some experience some soreness in the specific treatment areas, but it typically only lasts a few hours and up to two days. If you have questions about dry needling, talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if this treatment would be a good addition to your treatment plan!