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Dry Needling

A Piece of the Treatment Plan
Dry needling is a technique trained physical therapist professionals use to treat myofascial pain. The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle, known as trigger points.

What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
The objectives and philosophy behind the use of dry needling by physical therapists is not based on the tenets of traditional Chinese medicine. The performance of modern dry needling by physical therapists is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a large muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.

What kind of needle is used?
Dry needling involves a thin filiform needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The needle allows a trained physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable.

Why dry needling?
In cases when dry needling is used by trained physical therapists, it is typically one technique that’s part of a larger treatment plan. Physical therapists use dry needling with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. Preliminary research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles.  This can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation.

Who can benefit from Dry Needling?
A variety of musculoskeletal problems including, but not limited to: Acute/Chronic injuries, Headaches, Neck and back pain, tendonitis, muscle spasms, “sciatica,” hip/knee pain, muscle strains, fibromyalgia, “golfer's/tennis elbow,” PFPS, overuse injuries, etc.

Are there any side effects to Dry Needling?
Side effects may vary among individuals. Because of the small size of the needle, very few patients feel discomfort with its insertion. Once the needle is inserted in to the trigger point the patient will most often feel a “cramping” sensation in the muscle. This sensation is temporary and is usually followed by relaxation of the muscle.  Some skin bruising may occur.

How do I know if Dry Needling is the treatment I need?
Your physician and physical therapist will work together to determine if Dry Needling is an appropriate treatment for your condition. You may not receive Dry Needling if you are pregnant, have blood clotting disorders or are taking medicine to reduce blood clotting, have a fear of needles, have an infection in the area that requires treatment, or have had surgery in the last six weeks. 

Where can I go to receive Dry Needling?
Dry needling can be performed by a physical therapist, or other healthcare provider that has received advanced training, and has demonstrated proficiency in this treatment technique. We currently offer dry needling at all 3 locations. Our therapists who are trained in dry needling are Scott VanCura, PT, Stephane Jarecki, PT and Phillip Parker, PT.

[1] Cummings MT, White AR.  Needling therapies in the management of myofascial trigger point pain; a systematic review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001; 82(7); 986-992. Free Article.

[1] Kalichman L, Vulofsons S. Dry needling in the management of musculoskeletal pain. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010; 23(5): 640-646. Free Article.

[1] APTA, www.moveforwardpt.com

We welcome patients from Schuyler, Humphrey, Norfolk, Columbus, Albion and bordering Eastern Nebraska locations. To schedule an appointment with us, please call our CPT office at 402-564-5456, our Humphrey office call 402-923-1011 or our Northeast Nebraska clinic at 402-371-8278. You can also use our online Request an Appointment form.