Dry Needling is a highly effective procedure done by your Physical Therapist for the treatment of a multitude of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. It is not appropriate for all conditions or pathologies and the use of the technique will be at the discretion of your Physical Therapist.
How does it work?
Dry Needling is NOT acupuncture (traditional Chinese medicine), but is based on neuro-anatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. A very fine filament needle is inserted through the skin and into deeper tissues that are considered trigger points to your pain. Dry Needling works by causing a micro-lesion within the pathological tissue thus breaking up shortened tissues, inhibiting a reflex arc from the nervous system to the tissue, normalizing the inflammatory response, and centrally mediating the pain. This mechanical and neuromuscular effect provides an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal which ultimately reduces pain.
What conditions can be treated?
Conditions include, but are not limited to neck, back, shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headache to include migraine and tension-type headaches, jaw pain, buttock pain, leg pain (sciatica, hamstring and adductor strains, calf tightness/spasms).
Are the needles sterile?
Yes, we only use sterile, disposable needles.
Is the procedure painful?
The fine filament needle is very thin, solid, and flexible, which allows for the needle to be pushed through the skin versus cutting the skin. This helps reduce any discomfort that may occur with the procedure. We strive to make the treatment virtually painless, however at times a local twitch response of the muscle may be felt. When the needle is inserted in to the pathological tissue, the local twitch response sensation is normal and only felt momentarily. Many patients describe this twitch response as a little electric shock, cramp, or ache sensation. These sensations are perfectly normal and even a desirable response. Your PT will make every effort to make your experience comfortable and therapeutic.
How will I feel after Dry Needling?
This will vary but many patients experience an immediate relief of their symptoms and an increase in range of motion. Sometimes you may feel slightly faint or have a systemic effect of the treatment that may result in different emotions, more frequent bathroom visits, or increased or decreased energy. These symptoms are normal and should subside within 1-2 days. Soreness can also be a common response from the needling but does not occur with all people. Some individuals may experience an immediate achiness or a delayed soreness the next day. The soreness, if present, will usually last 1-2 days, use of heat and light massage and movement may be beneficial. Mild bruising may occur at the needling sites and is more prevalent in certain parts of the body. Larger bruising may also occur, but is rare. Application of ice on the bruise will help with the soreness and skin discoloration will last several days but is not harmful.
It is uncommon but possible that the treatment will temporarily increase your symptoms. This is not unusual but if this continues past the 1-2 day window, inform your PT to allow adjustment of your treatment program to enhance comfort the next time. This does not mean dry needling will not be beneficial to your condition.
Will I continue to do exercises, receive manual therapy, and other treatments?
Yes, your personalized physical therapy program still integrates traditional physical therapy methods including manual therapy, myofascial release, therapeutic exercises, endurance training, stabilization, and modalities.
How many treatments will I need?
This will depend on the state of your overall health and how complicated your condition is. Remember we are attempting to cause mechanical and biochemical changes without any pharmaceutical means. Therefore we are looking for a cumulative response to break the pain cycle. Your PT will be able to give you more insight after your evaluation.
What should I do to prepare for the treatment?
Do not eat 30 minutes before the treatment
Be well hydrated but empty your bladder prior to treatment
Wear loose fitting clothing, shorts, or a bathing suit may be recommended for easy access to painful areas.
What should/can I do after treatment and what should I avoid?
Our recommendations vary depending on the amount of soreness you have and on the individual response to treatment. Recommendations include increasing your water intake, applying heat or ice over the area, gentle stretches and modification of activities.
Is Dry Needling covered by insurance?
This is a physical therapy treatment and NOT acupuncture therefore your insurance will not cover Dry Needling. Dry Needling is not covered by insurance and is an additional one time 50.00 charge at the time of your first treatment. This covers the cost of any dry needling you have for the current treatment plan.
Please ask if you have any questions.