Chronic pain? Back pain? Arthritis? Migraines?
If you or someone you love has been dealing with these or other types of pain and haven’t found relief, dry needling, as part of an individualized physical therapy treatment, may be the solution.
The first question people usually have is: What is dry needling? Specially trained physical therapists insert very fine, filament needles into the muscle to directly target tight knots called trigger points that cause and refer pain throughout the body. Dry needles have a diameter of 0.3mm and usually are not felt during the procedure. In fact, sixteen of the needles used in dry needling can fit into the tip of a hypodermic needle used for most injections when at the doctor’s office. Some patients will feel a twinge or twitch as well as some possible discomfort, but ultimately, there is pain relief.
Secondly, people wonder: Is this the same as acupuncture? The only similarity is the filament type needles. The dry needling concept, approach, technique and clinical application are very different. Dry needling is based on physical therapists’ understanding of human anatomy, physiology and musculoskeletal issues.
This means the physical therapy application and use of the needles is directed to specific areas, while acupuncture is a field based on whole body systems and the flow of energy. The physical therapist uses the needles to create tiny lesions in the tissue in order to jump-start the body’s natural process of healing. With a dry needling approach, there are no side effects related to medication, no invasive surgery, and symptoms can be improved in as quickly as one session!
What pain can be helped with dry needling?
Dry needling can be used to treat almost anything that PTs typically see. It is most useful in adjunct to a full PT treatment.
Dry needling can help with the following:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Headaches (including tension headaches and some migraines)
- Jaw and facial pain including TMJD
- Piriformis pain
- Hip pain
- Tennis and golfers elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles pain
- Women’s health issues
As physical therapists, dry needling is another tool in our tool box to help a wide range of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions that people suffer with daily and it may be appropriate in conjunction with our therapist’s knowledge of therapeutic exercise, manual soft tissue/joint mobility techniques and other pain management approaches.
Dry needling helps address painful trigger points, and in conjunction with traditional physical therapy like stretching, strengthening, and/or stability training, helps keep them from coming back. The goal of the physical therapist isn’t just to quickly relieve your pain and send you on your way, it is to get rid of the pain and keep it from coming back.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about physical therapy options, such as dry needling, call and schedule a free 15-minute consultation!
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