“Trigger points are constant sources of peripheral nociceptive input leading to peripheral and central sensitization. Dry needling can reverse aspects of central sensitization, reduce local and referred pain, improve range of motion and muscle activation patterns, and alter/normalize the chemical environment of muscles.” - J. Dommerholt
Dry Needling: What is it? Is it for me?
Dry needling treatment is a technique which involves the insertion of thin monofilament needles by a certified and skilled clinician directly into trigger points (muscle spasms) in order to stimulate a healing response in painful musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions.
Why do we do it?
To address muscle spasms. When a muscle or motor unit is inflamed or over-worked, it can become “stuck” in the contracted position. This causes a chronic, self-propagating problem that keeps the muscle tight, taut and dysfunctional.
How is it different from acupuncture?
Dry needling is NOT acupuncture. Acupuncture is derived from Oriental Medicine with the purpose of altering the flow of energy (“Qi”) along traditional Chinese meridians for the treatment of disease. In contrast, dry needling is a modern, scientific, evidence-based intervention for the treatment of pain and dysfunction in musculoskeletal conditions.
How does it work?
The term “dry” is indicative of the needle itself; there is no medication or fluid being injected into the body. Dry needling works by causing a microlesion within the pathological tissue thus breaking up shortened tissues, inhibiting a reflex arc from the nervous system to the tissue, normalizing the inflammatory response and centrally mediating the pain.
This mechanical and neuromuscular effect essentially provided an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal which ultimately reduces pain.
Is it safe?
Yes! We have been specially certified to perform dry needling and regularly perform the treatment within protocol. The needles are sterile and disposable.
What conditions can be treated?
Dry needling should be a considered manual treatment option for anyone suffering from neuromusculoskeletal or myofascial pain and movement impairments. Some of the more common conditions treated include muscular strains (neck, low back, shoulder, etc), any type of tendinitis, headaches or migraines, jaw pain (TMJ), sciatica, plantar fasciitis, etc.
Is the procedure painful?
The fine filament needle is very thing, solid, and flexible, which allows for the needle to be pushed through the sin versus cutting the skin. This helps reduce any discomfort that may occur with the procedure.
We strive to make the treatment as painless as possible, however at times a local twitch response of the muscle or reproduction of referred pain may be felt (momentarily). Many patients describe this twitch response as a little electric shock, cramp, or aching sensation. These sensations are perfectly normal and even a desirable response.
How will I feel after the Dry Needling treatment?
This will vary but many patients experience immediate relief of their symptoms and an increase in range of motion. Soreness and achiness can be a common response from the needling but does not occur with all individuals. The soreness will usually last 1-2 days. Mild bruising may occur at the needling sites and is more prevalent in certain parts of the body.
Due to additional skills and training needed by our PT's to complete this service, Dry Needling is a cash-based service.
Ready to get started?
- Request an appointment.
- Get more information from Fitzgerald Physical Therapy