Dry Needling

American Physical Therapy Association Support Statement

Dry needling is a neurophysiological evidence-based treatment technique that requires effective manual assessment of the neuromuscular system. Physical therapists are well trained to utilize dry needling in conjunction with manual physical therapy interventions. Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.

How Treatment is Performed

Your physical therapist will palpate through the muscle tissue in order to identify a trigger point within the muscle. These are identified through palpation of a taut band as well as reproduction of the pain that you are reporting. Once the trigger point is identified, the therapist will insert a small filiform needle through the skin and will move the needle into the trigger point.

Equipment

Solid filiform needle of varying lengths depending on the depth of the tissue. Gloves are worn as a precaution and
to keep the site sterile.

What Does Dry Needling Feel Like?

Patients usually do not even feel the needle being inserted since it is much smaller than than ones used in any kind of injection or blood test. After the needle is inserted, the therapist will move the needle around which can cause the muscle to twitch. The twitch is brief but uncomfortable. This twitch is a desired response and means the therapist has penetrated a trigger point.

At any point during treatment the patient has the right to tell the treating therapist to stop.

To Find Out More About How We Can Help Your Specific Problem Please Call: (703) 723 – 6758

Is it the same as Acupuncture?

Dry needling is based off western medical principles and research. Acupuncture is primarily based off of Eastern philosophy consisting of acupuncture points, motor points, meridians, chi, etc. Dry needling can fall within the scope of practice for acupuncturists. None of the therapists at AID Performance Physical Therapy are licensed to practice acupuncture.

How Does it Work?

Current research has shown the chemical composition of the painful trigger point is immediately altered after the insertion of the needle. This alteration in composition may decrease the signal to the pain receptors and break the pain cycle.

Side Effects & Risks of Dry Needling

Post-treatment, the patient will experience muscle soreness in the area that was treated for a period of 24-72 hours. Patients may also see some bruising in areas that are highly vascularized. There is a slight risk of pneumothorax in areas over the lungs. However, this is very unlikely to occur due to the size of the needle. A small, uncomplicated pneumothorax may quickly heal on its own and is not considered a  medical emergency. Your physical therapist will inform you of the signs and symptoms associatated with a pneumothorax as well as when it is appropriate to seek further medical attention.

What can be treated?

  • Chronic Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Knee pain
  • Elbow Pain
  • Wrist Pain
  • Hand Pain
  • Foot Pain
  • TMD
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Tension Type Headaches
  • Whiplash Associated Disorders

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