14 Apr

Getting to the Point – Dry Needling

Dry needling may be your answer to a pain-free life.

It is possible that you have heard of dry needling by now. Perhaps it has been recommended to you by a friend or family member who has received this treatment, but what is it exactly. Contrary to popular belief, dry needling is not synonymous with acupuncture and, in fact, the approach itself is used for an entirely different reason.

So, what’s the difference?

Traditional Acupuncture is based on an ancient Chinese Medicine concept, which uses the meridian system for diagnosis and treatment using filiform (acupuncture) needles.

Trigger Point Dry Needling (TrP DN) is an approach utilized by Doctors of Physical Therapy in conjunction with our other treatment techniques to address dysfunctions directly in the various muscles and soft tissues of the body. A filiform needle is used, but our goal is to alter myofascial trigger points and connective tissues to facilitate a reflex response in the area and results in the tissue returning to its optimal/healthy state.

Does it hurt?

Although TrP DN is an invasive approach, it is relatively pain-free. Most patients don’t even feel the needle itself, but a quick, mild cramping is common when the muscle undergoes its “twitch” response. To find a myofascial trigger point your Functional Manual Therapist uses his/her advanced hands-on skills to locate areas in the muscle/fascia that elicits pain and/or reproduces your symptoms. Once the needle is inserted we facilitate the “twitch” response and when the twitch ends it’s done. Immediate and dramatic improvements often follow, even after one session!

Will it help me?

Musculoskeletal dysfunction, weakness and tightness are common causes of pain and often follows trauma or injury. Incorporating TrP DN is a very effective way to immediately calm the muscles and soft tissue systems and results a rapid relief in pain. DN is a very valuable tool from this Physical Therapists standpoint and is one that I often incorporate into my patients plan of care.

The great news is that research findings are demonstrating improvements in patients who undergo DN as a part of their PT treatments both before and after surgery. Even more exciting, DN has been demonstrated to be just as effective as injections to painful regions of the body!

Want to learn more?

If you are looking to improve your strength or range of motion, recover from an injury, or relieve chronic pain contact IPA Physio to Discover Your Potential® and find out if dry needling is right for you!

Check out an Example of Dry Needling!

About the Author

Brad Grohovsky

Brad Grohovsky

Brad graduated from Simmons College with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy. During PT school he served on the American Physical Therapy Association's Student Assembly Board of Directors, representing nearly 20,000 PT students across the country. Following graduation, Brad enrolled in the Institute of Physical Art’s APTA Credentialed Orthopedic Residency where he spent three years studying in Annapolis, Maryland. After completing the residency he tested for his Certification in Functional Manual Therapy (CFMT), which he passed with honors.