What is dry needling?
What are the benefits?
Functional dry needling is a skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle (much smaller than a typical hypodermic needle) used to treat dysfunctions in skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissue, and to diminish persistent peripheral nociceptive input, and reduce or restore impairments in body structure and function, leading to improved activity and participation.
How does it work?
At Optimal Function Physical Therapy and Wellness, your therapist will work with you to help identify generally painful and/or dysfunctional areas in your muscles that may be contributing to your symptoms. The needle is then advanced into these locations in order to achieve a local twitch response which can help release muscle tension, diminish pain, increase flexibility of the tissue, and quiet muscular activity and spasm. Electrical stimulation may also be applied to help facilitate desired muscle activity, or to provide further relief from symptoms. This is most often followed up with individually-tailored exercises designed to further improve function. Dry needling is a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin with very few side effects.
what are the risks?
Your therapist is well-educated in the possible precautions, contraindications and complications that may arise, and these will be discussed with you prior to the procedure. Some conditions and cases may not be appropriate for Dry Needling, so it is just as important that a therapist recognize and discuss what CAN’T be treated by Dry Needling as well as what CAN.
does it last?
Most patients respond positively to dry needling almost immediately and find that the problem muscles are less taut and contracted. The muscles are then able to move more freely. In some cases it may take a day or two for the benefits to be felt. Generally, a few sessions of dry needling produce the most dramatic pain relief and improve muscle function. The musculoskeletal system is under constant pressure due to repetitive movements at work, gravity, stress, exercise and posture; therefore, many clients choose to schedule a monthly appointment as a way of prevention.
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HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM ACUPUNCTURE?
There are numerous different types of treatments available to reduce the soreness and tension your body may feel. For many centuries, practitioners have used needles for therapeutic purposes, as they are able to access trigger points that other techniques cannot. Most individuals when thinking of needling think of acupuncture, the ancient Eastern needling tradition. However, in recent years new needling practices have surfaced, including functional dry needling. Since both techniques involve needles, the two can commonly be confused.
Physical therapists who perform Functional Dry Needling consider every muscle and its relationship to the body, seeking to address these tissues for improved function and pain.
The practice of acupuncture by acupuncturists and the performance of dry needling by physical therapists differ in terms of historical, philosophical, indicative, and practical context. The performance of modern dry needling by physical therapists is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Physical therapists who perform dry needling do not use traditional acupuncture theories or acupuncture terminology.
Despite the fact that both dry needling and acupuncture uses needles, they are unrelated beyond that. Acupuncture follows the traditional Chinese concept of Qi or the flow of energy inside the body. During acupuncture, needles are inserted into spots along the body that according to the guidelines the body’s Qi points. The inserted needles are supposed to help alter and direct the flow of Qi towards different places in the body to promote healing. During dry needling, needles are placed directly into the pained muscles to stimulate activation, reduce tightness and decrease inflammation.
DO I NEED TO CONTACT MY DOCTOR OR GO THROUGH MY INSURANCE CARRIER TO RECEIVE DRY NEEDLING?
No. We operate as a case-based physical therapy clinic but we do take cash, checks, HSA, and FSA dollars. We can also submit a super bill to your insurance provider to get you reimbursed through your out-of-network benefits.
Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture
Despite the fact that both dry needling and acupuncture uses needles, they are unrelated beyond that. Acupuncture follows the traditional Chinese concept of Qi or the flow of energy inside the body. During acupuncture, needles are inserted into spots along the body that according to the guidelines the body’s Qi points. The inserted needles are supposed to help alter and direct the flow of Qi towards different places in the body to promote healing. During dry needling, needles are placed directly into the pained muscles to treat trigger points and relieve tension in that specific area.
Does Dry Needling Hurt?
Inserting a needle into a muscle belly can create a twitch response, similar to an ache or cramp, which means the muscle is releasing and having a healing response to the stimulus. The discomfort is temporary and initiates the process of reducing pain and restoring function.