Active Life Physical Therapy

Integrative Dry Needling

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Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a trigger point. There is no injectable solution and typically the needle that is used is very thin.

Will it hurt?
Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it advances into the muscle, the discomfort can vary from patient to patient. Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort upon insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or contains active trigger points, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp, often referred to as a ‘twitch response”.

How does Dry Needling Work?
The twitch response also has a biochemical characteristic to it which likely affects the reaction of the muscle, symptoms, and response of the tissue. Along with the health of the tissue, the expertise of the practitioner can also attribute to the variation of outcome and/or discomfort. The patient may only feel the cramping sensation locally or they may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. A reproduction of their pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, thereby reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle.

How many treatments will need?
Typically positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner.

Dry Needling is NOT acupuncture

It is important to understand that Dry Needling is a neuromuscular technique used as part of a comprehensive physical therapy treatment plan. Dry Needling is based on a modern comprehensive understanding of human neuromuscular anatomy, pathophysiology and on scientific research and pain models. It is not based on acupuncture points, meridians or energy flow. Although, a similar needle is used in treatment it is used in very different ways.