What is Dry Needling?
Trigger point dry needling is a skilled physical therapy intervention that decreases pain in your muscles. Physical Therapy Innovations’ trained physical therapists adhere to a western medicine approach and are not performing acupuncture. Our goal, as musculoskeletal specialists, is to restore normal muscle and joint function. The dry needling technique is used in conjunction with a comprehensive evaluation that complements other treatment techniques to decrease pain and restore function.
Dry needling uses a thin, solid filament needle to treat muscle trigger points, release underlying myofascial trigger points and connective tissue to manage neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. These muscle trigger points play a role in producing and maintaining the pain cycle. They can alter muscle performance, as well as generate pain along common referral patterns. These points develop in muscle for various reasons, including referred or local pain, inflammation, athletic injury or other causes.
How Does Dry Needling work?
The mechanical stimulation of the muscle produces a local twitch response or rapid depolarization of muscle fibers. After this process, the muscle activity dramatically reduces, which results in relaxation and decreased pain and dysfunction. This decrease in pain is related to the removal of muscular compression on your joint, nerve, and vascular tissue. Sometimes, the insertion of the needle also reproduces “referred pain” symptoms. This is a positive sign confirming the trigger point as the source of the pain. Dry needling is highly effective for chronic muscle and repetitive sport injuries.
DRY NEEDLING VS Acupuncture
What is the difference between dry needling physical therapy and acupuncture? The dry needling technique uses the same tool that acupuncture uses, but with a different theoretical purpose. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use the holistic treatment of acupuncture to normalize energy, or Chi, in the body to cure syndromes. Although an acupuncture needle is used in dry needling, dry needling is based on traditional reasoning of Western medicine. The sites for the needle insertion are located in specific myofascial trigger points in skeletal muscle, which can differ from acupuncture.
Dry Needling VS Trigger Point Injection
Trigger point dry needling does not deliver any medication. The treatments can be done more frequently without adverse side effects. Traditional trigger point injections use a hollow, hypodermic needle to inject substances such as saline, Botox or corticosteroids. Dry needling theory suggests that the “needling effect” is the most important part of the process rather than the chemicals injected. This does not mean that certain patients will not have greater indication or benefits with injections rather than dry needling and vice-versa.
WHAT CONDITIONS BENEFIT FROM DRY NEEDLING
Patients with any kind of pain may benefit from dry needling. This innovative pain treatment can be used to treat a variety of diagnoses including, but not limited to:
- Headaches / Migraines
- Neck pain
- Lateral (Golfer’s Elbow) and Medial Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
- Shoulder impingement syndrome
- Low back pain
- ITB syndrome
- Piriformis syndrome
- Greater trochanteric bursitis
- Hamstring strain
- Groin strain
- Ankle sprain
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Gastroc Strain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Dry Needling is just one modality used in conjunction with a variety of manual therapy techniques and prescriptive exercises prescribed by your physical therapist to help restore you to optimal physical function. Physical Therapy Innovations utilizes a multidimensional treatment approach geared at creating an individualized program to assure successful outcomes.
It is important to note that as physical therapists:
- We do not claim to practice acupuncture, and it would be incorrect to refer to a practitioner of dry needling as an “Acupuncturist”, since dry needling practitioners do not use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts.
- We do not use TCM acupuncture theories, meridian acupoints, and terminology.
- We do not use TCM ancient meridian systems, such as Qi (Chi) or energy channels.
- We do not use TCM acupuncture diagnostic techniques like tongue and pulse assessments.
- We treat primarily neuromuscular condition where a TMC practitioner works on balancing the whole body