At Precision we use dry needling because it has helped a lot of our patients return to what they love much faster than tradition manual therapy alone. Even though dry needling sounds scary to many, once they have had the experience most of my clients prefer dry needling over other techniques because of its effectiveness. In fact, many of them beg me to needle them! I'm not kidding!
There is more and more research available about dry needling and some of it can be contradictory. However, research has shown that dry needling has been found to be more effective than manual trigger point release, improve range of motion, reduce muscle tension, improve pain control, decrease pain sensitivity, speed up recovery and it doesn't impact athletic performance negatively [1,2].
It can be used to treat a variety of conditions including but not limited to: myofascial pain (pain in the muscles and fascia), chronic pain, range of motion limitations, scars, hip pain, neck pain, shoulder pain back pain, headaches, foot and lower extremity injuries.
What is Dry needling?
The American Physical Therapy association defines trigger point dry needling as “a skilled intervention performed by a physical therapist that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points as well as muscle and connective tissue. ” Essentially, it is a minimally invasive technique in which your therapist will insert a needle into the trigger points in your muscles.
There are both active and latent trigger points within muscles. Taut bands within the muscle are present in both types of trigger points, however only pain occurs in active trigger points [4}. These active trigger points can also disrupt movement patterns, increased strain on joints increase tightness in muscles. Trigger points often develop when a muscle is damaged from ischemia, overtraining or an acute injury.
Your therapist will use gloves, clean your skin with alcohol and explain what to expect. At our clinic we will even let you hold a teddy bear if you need it!
Does it hurt?
When the needle is inserted it typically doesn’t hurt. Once the needle reaches the trigger point, patients often feel cramping or mild to moderate discomfort in the area the needle was inserted or its referral pattern. This discomfort does not last long. Most people have significant improvements in pain, range of motion and function immediately following dry needling along with some muscle soreness that can last anywhere between 24-48 hours.
Do all physical therapists dry needle?
No, not all PTs are trained in dry needling and not all states allow it. Here in Georgia PTs are required to have 50 hours of training prior to using dry needling in the clinic. Trainings consist of didactic learning, labs and testing. If you are looking to see if your state allows dry needling Kintacore is a great resource.
If you are experiencing pain or an injury dry needling might help! Call 770-842-1418 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org today to come in and try it out!
1. Kalichman L, Vulfsons S. Dry needling in the management musculoskeletal pain. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010;23(5):640–646.
2. Tekin L, Akarsu S, Durmus O, et al. The effect of dry needling in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome: a randomized double-blinded placebo- controlled trial. Clin Rheumatol.2013;32:309-315.
3. American Physical Therapy Association. Physical Therapists and the Performance of Dry Needling. Alexandria, VA:American Physical Therapy Association; 2012.
4. Gerwin et al. An Expansion of Simons’ Integrated Hypothesis of Trigger Point Formation. Current Pain and Headache Reports 2004, 8:468–475.