is a highly effective form of Physical therapy for the treatment of a multitude of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. It is not appropriate for all conditions or pathologies and the use of the technique will be at the discretion of your physical therapist.
How does it work?
Trigger point dry needling is not acupuncture (traditional Chinese medicine); it is based on neuro-anatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. A very fine filament needle is inserted through the skin and into the deeper tissues that are considered trigger points to your pain. The proposed mechanism of action for Dry Needling is the creation of a micro lesion within the pathological tissue, breaking up shortened tissues, inhibiting a reflex arc from the nervous system to the tissue, inducing a mild inflammatory response, and centrally mediating the pain. This mechanical and neuromuscular effect provides an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal which ultimately reduces pain.
What conditions can be treated
Conditions include, but are not limited to neck, back and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headache to include migraines and tension-type headaches, jaw pain, buttock pain and leg pain (sciatica, hamstrings strains, calf tightness/spasms).
Are the needles sterile?
Yes, we only use sterile disposable needles.
Is the procedure painful?
The fine filament needle is very thin, solid, and flexible that allows for the needle to be pushed through the skin versus cutting the skin. This helps reduce any discomfort that may occur with the procedure. A local twitch response may be felt once the needle is in the pathological tissue but this sensation is normal and is felt for less than a second. Many patients describe this twitch response as a little electric shock; others feel it more like a cramping sensation. The local twitch response is a good and desirable response. Your PT will make every effort to make your experience comfortable and therapeutic.
Click here to view a short video of trigger point dry needling being done to the upper trapezius with the local twitch response occuring.
How will I feel after the Trigger Point Dry Needling treatment?
This will vary but many patients experience immediate relief of their symptoms and an increase in range of motion. Soreness can also be a common response from the needling but does not occur with all people. Some individuals may experience a delayed soreness the next day. The soreness, if present, will usually last 1-2 days.
Mild bruising may occur at the needling sites and is more prevalent in certain parts of the body. Larger bruising may also occur, but is rare. Application of ice on the bruise will help with the soreness.
It is uncommon but possible that the treatment may temporarily increase your symptoms. This is not unusual but if this continues past the 1–2 day window, inform your PT to allow adjustment of your program to enhance your comfort the next time. This does not mean that needling will not be beneficial to your condition.
Please see the consent form outlining the possible risks associated. Written consent is required before performing the treatment.
Will I continue to do exercises or receive other treatments?
Yes, your personalized physical therapy program will still integrate traditional physical therapy methods including manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, endurance training, stabilization and posture training.
How many treatments will I need?
This will depend on the category you fit in, which is determined by the state of the injury and your overall health. Remember we are attempting to cause mechanical and biochemical changes without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to break the pain cycle, which may take several treatment sessions. Your PT will be able to give you more insight after your evaluation.
What should I do to prepare for the treatment?
- Do not eat 30 minutes before the treatment
- Be well hydrated but empty your bladder prior to the treatment
- Wear loose fitting clothing, shorts, or bathing suit for access to your painful areas
What should/can I do after treatment, should I avoid anything?
Our recommendations vary depending on the amount of soreness you have and on the individual response to the treatment. Recommendations may include increasing your water intake, applying heat or ice over the area, gentle stretches and modifications of activities.
Is Trigger Point Dry Needling treatment covered by my insurance?
This is a Physical Therapy treatment and is NOT acupuncture therefore your coverage of Dry Needling should correspond with your Physical Therapy benefits. You can discuss this further with our administrative staff if you require more information.
Not all medical or physical therapy professionals are trained to perform this treatment technique. The physical therapists at Rehabilitex Inc. have advanced training in dry needling and are certified by the American Dry Needling Institute (Dr. Yun-Tao Ma).
***Click here to view a unique success story.
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