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Dry Needling

Dry Needling is a therapeutic technique for finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction – reducing pain, improving joint mobility and restoring function.

In Dry Needling, a thin, monofilament needle is used to deactivate muscle trigger points (painful areas or knots). Inserting a fine needle into these trigger points causes a "twitch response" – a brief contraction that often reproduces the pain the patient has been experiencing. By stimulating the trigger point's mechanoreceptors in this way, Dry Needling disrupts the neurological feedback loop that was causing the muscle tension. This enables the "circuits" to reset themselves, allowing a return to normal function.

  • What is a typical course of treatment?

    A Dry Needling session takes approximately 10–20 minutes following initial assessment.

    Most conditions can be treated in 2–4 sessions, although this will vary by patient. Treatments are done 5 to 7 days apart.

  • When will the results of treatment begin to be felt?

    Most patients begin to feel relief within a day or two of their first treatment. Full results are typically experienced after 2 to 4 treatments.

  • What does a Dry Needling session feel like?

    The monofilament needle used is very fine. Most people don't even feel it as it passes through the skin. There is little to no discomfort felt when the needle is inserted into healthy muscle tissue. However, if the muscle is sensitive, under tension, or has active trigger points, the needle will elicit a twitch response that feels like a muscle cramp.

    Sometimes, there is referred pain or sensations that recreate the symptoms from which the patient is seeking relief. This can be startling, but it is also a reassuring sign indicating that the treatment is hitting just the right spots.

    Multiple sites are needled – individually – during the treatment session. Each needle is inserted and manipulated for only a few seconds, just long enough to locate and stimulate the trigger point.

  • What are some of the benefits?

    Dry Needling offers several benefits over or in conjunction with other modes of treatment. These include:

    • Results and even complete relief in very few sessions
    • Ability to work tissues at deeper levels than traditional manual techniques
    • Immediate feedback indicating that the triggering areas have been precisely targeted

  • What conditions can be treated?

    Dry Needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain along with injury rehabilitation and even prevention.

    It can be used to successfully treat the following conditions and more.

    • Myofascial trigger points
    • Back and neck pain
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Tennis/Golfer's elbow
    • Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome
    • Shin splints
    • Thoracic outlet syndrome
    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Rotator cuff injuries
    • Compartment syndrome
    • Sciatica
    • Knee pain
    • Piriformis syndrome
    • Muscle tears
    • Shoulder pain

  • Will there be pain after Dry Needling?

    Immediately following a Dry Needling treatment, your muscles will be sore – as if you've done a really hard workout. This soreness will last anywhere from a few hours to one or two days. After this, you should feel not only recovered from the treatment, but better than you did before going in.

    If you like, you may ice the affected area after treatment; but, it is not necessary. Use of anti-inflammatory medications (such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, Advil, etc.) is not recommended.

  • What about physical activity following Dry Needling?

    Light activity and very gentle stretching immediately following treatment can help reduce any muscle soreness.

    Normal activity can be resumed within a day or two, once the post-treatment soreness has passed.

  • Are there any precautions or contraindications for Dry Needling?

    The most serious risk associated with Dry Needling is accidental puncture of a lung (pneumothorax). This is a rare complication, and in the hands of a skilled therapist should not be a major concern. In the unlikely event this should occur, it would most likely require a chest x-ray and no further treatment.

    Minor bruising is a common occurrence and should not be of concern.

    Other general contraindications and/or precautions include:

    • First trimester of pregnancy
    • Blood thinning medications such as Coumadin or Heparin
    • Compromised immune system