What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling, also called myofascial point dry needling is based on Western medicine and was developed in the 1980's.  Needles are inserted into tendons, ligaments and muscles where there are "trigger points" or tender bands of muscle.  When needles are inserted into trigger points, these bands are released and result in less pain and inflammation.  Dry Needling uses disposable, sterile needles to treat painful and dysfunctional conditions such as back pain, neck pain, knee osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, plantar fasciitis, headaches, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, and extremity muscle pain in shoulders and hips.

Who can perform Dry Needling?

A provider must be either a licensed Physical Therapist, ATC, DC, Medical Doctor, DO, NP, PA, OT, or acupuncturist.  There are differences between states regarding which professions are allowed to practice Dry Needling and other restrictions may apply from state to state.

How does Dry Needling work?

A muscle becomes injured or overused due to faulty mechanics or repetitive contractions or an actual injury.  Due to this, the muscle receives decreased blood supply.  Therefore, the muscle does not get the nutrients or the oxygen it needs to return to its normal resting state.  Needling breaks up these tissues and utilizes mechanotransduction (by moving the needle) as well as your body's natural chemical processes to decrease pain and restore normal muscular function.

How many sessions of Dry Needling will I need?

This depends on your diagnosis and how long you have had your condition.  Treatments range from one to eight weeks of treatment depending on the nature and severity of your condition.

Dry Needling is one of many tools your therapist can utilize to treat your condition.  Your best outcomes are achieved when manual interventions like Dry Needling and other manual therapy techniques are paired with stretching and exercise to assure the most desirable outcomes.  Our goal at the Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine is to get you back to doing what you love as quickly as possible.  Our therapy team works together with your physician to provide optimal results.  Your therapist will be happy to discuss if Dry Needling is an appropriate treatment for your condition and answer any additional questions you may have.

Author
Amelia Embley MPT Amelia completed her Masters of Physical Therapy at LSUHSC-New Orleans. Her specialties include kinesiotaping, dry needling, Graston technique, manual therapy, cupping, SFMA, FMS and ART of the spine.

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