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Why you shouldn’t be afraid of needles

Integrative Dry Needling is a highly effective form of physical therapy for the treatment of a variety of different musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. It is not the same as acupuncture. It is the use of a fine filament needle inserted through the skin and into deeper tissues that are considered trigger points to your pain. Integrative dry needling is based on neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems to help promote tissue healing and control pain.

Evidence suggests dry needling performed by physical therapists can reduce pain and improve pressure-pain threshold in those with musculoskeletal pain immediately following and for 12-weeks after treatment (1).

What conditions can be treated?

There are a multitude of musculoskeletal conditions that may benefit from integrative dry needling with a physical therapist. Some conditions that may benefit include, but are not limited to: neck, back and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headache, jaw pain, buttock pain, leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strain, calf tightness, spasm).

Are the needles sterile?

Yes, only sterile, disposable needles are used.

Is the procedure painful?

The goal is for minimal discomfort with the treatment. The fine filament needle is very thin, solid and flexible, which allows for the needle to be pushed through the skin versus cutting the skin. When the needle is inserted into the tissue, a “twitch response” is normal and may be felt momentarily. Other common symptoms can include a temporary little electric shock, cramp or ache.

Response to treatment varies between individuals. Some individuals will report immediate relief of symptoms and increased range of motion of the tissue and/or joint. Soreness after treatment is not uncommon, and may be described as immediate achiness or delayed soreness the next day.

Soreness typically does not last more than 24-48 hours. Mild bruising may occur at the needling site and is more prevalent in certain body parts (base of neck, head/face, arms and legs). Larger bruising may also occur, but is rare.

It is uncommon, but possible, that treatment can cause a temporary increase in your symptoms. If symptom increase persists for more than 1-2 days, inform your physical therapist to allow for adjustment of your program to optimize comfort. This does not mean that Integrative Dry Needling will not be beneficial to your condition.

Are other treatments received in conjunction with Integrative Dry Needling?

Yes, Integrative Dry Needling works best when incorporated with traditional physical therapy methods including manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, endurance training, stabilization and postural training.

What should I do after treatment?

  • It is recommended to increase water intake for 24 hours following treatment to help avoid soreness

  • Ice can help if bruising results

  • Heat application can help to decrease compliant of soreness

  • Gentle stretches or light massage may help decrease soreness

What should I do to prepare for the treatment?

  • Do not eat 30 minutes before treatment

  • Be well hydrated, but empty your bladder prior to treatment

  • Wear loose fitting clothing, shorts or bathing suit to allow access your painful areas

Not all medical or physical therapy professionals are trained to perform Integrative Dry Needling. The physical therapists practicing at Dynamic Physical Therapy & Wellness have advanced training and have been certified to perform these techniques.

Please let us know if you have any other question or would like to book an appointment today!

  1. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2017;47(3):133-149. Epub 3 Feb 2017. doi:10.2519

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