Dry Needling… Getting to the Bottom of a Sticky Situation

By now, you’ve probably heard of (or may have even been stuck by) the popular treatment method in physical therapy today: dry needling. Although this technique may seem to be relatively new to healthcare, its origin dates back to the 1940s. Research proved that patients were responding to “wet needling”, or the introduction of a supplement or medication through a needle, without actually being injected. Fast forward to present day, healthcare professionals are finding dry needling beneficial for those experiencing:

• Acute/chronic injuries
• Headaches
• Neck/Back pain
• Tendinitis
• Muscle Spasms
• Sciatica
• Hip/Knee pain
• Muscle strains
• Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow

How does it work?
A dry needling certified physical therapist will insert a solid filament needle into your muscles, which activates trigger points and treats muscle pain. This technique is typically used when a physical therapist can’t reach particular muscle groups or relieve pain with their hands alone. You’re probably wondering, what is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture? While both procedures use a solid filament needle, dry needling improves muscles function through breaking up trigger points and resetting the muscle, whereas the traditional Western medicine acupuncture approach focuses on meridian points in the body. For patients with an aversion to needles, the question arises, ‘does it hurt?’. Typically, dry needling isn’t painful. However, reactions to dry needling can vary and muscle soreness tends to be the most prevalent among the possible side effects of treatment. Keep in mind, as goes with any form of exercise, when working muscles that have been stagnant, soreness is expected.

Some reactions to needling can be quite funny! Patients have been known to giggle uncontrollably, sweat, fall asleep, twitch, or cry (tear reaction).

While this is a great treatment method to use, dry needling isn’t for all patients. A certified, licensed physical therapist will be able to assess appropriate patients on a case by case basis. If this isn’t the tool is needed, it remains in the toolbox!

Interested in seeing if you’re a candidate for dry needling? Elite Integrated Therapy Centers has dry needling certified physical therapists at all 7 locations. Just a phone call away, their team can help you schedule an appointment within 24-48 hours—no referral needed!

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