The Physical Therapists at OSC now offer Dry Needling as an effective treatment for chronically painful muscles. You may be asking “What exactly is Dry Needling?” We created a brief and informative FAQ to give you all the facts. Please contact the OSC Physical Therapy Center at 757-596-1900 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is a treatment that involves inserting a tiny monofilament needle in a muscle in order to release tight areas within the muscle tissue and decrease trigger point activity. A “trigger point” is described as a painful spot in the muscle that corresponds with a knot you can feel, found within tight bands of muscle fibers. Dry needling can help resolve the trigger point, which in turn, helps resolve pain, decrease muscle tension, and promote healing.
Here at OSC Physical Therapy Center, we use a variation of Dry Needling known as Functional Dry Needling® (FDN). The providers of Dry Needling are OSC Physical Therapists that have been trained by KinetaCore®. All training was in accordance with requirements dictated by KinetaCore® and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
FDN “emphasizes the neuro-developmental movement patterns that are hardwired into the brain and are often compensated for throughout life by way of creating habitual postures and responses to injury.” – Gino Kerkhoffs, Ph.D., MD
Dry Needling can also be used with Electrical Stimulation, known as IMS or Intramuscular Stimulation. Intramuscular Stimulation helps to “trick” the nervous system and helps retrain the muscle to contract normally.
What causes a Trigger Point? Trigger points can be caused by many different factors, including, but not limited to:
3. Overworking certain muscles
4. Failure to drink water and maintain proper hydration
How does Dry Needling work?
1. Dry Needling causes relaxation of the muscle by way of disrupting hyperactivity or increased electrical activity at the area where the nerve meets the muscle
2. Normalizes the chemical effects in the muscle by eliciting a Local Twitch Response (involuntary contraction of the muscle fibers within the trigger point)
3. Blocks the painful stimulus to the brain
4. Increases blood flow
5. Restores the length of the muscle
How long does it take to see results and what should I expect after treatment?
Many people have an immediate reduction in pain and muscle tension. However, it is normal to experience some increased soreness of the muscle as if you have been working out. If soreness occurs, it may last 24-48 hours, then you will feel an increase in mobility and a decrease in pain. Your Physical Therapist will determine how often and how long the dry needling session should be on an individual basis.
What is the Difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Dry Needling is not traditional Chinese Acupuncture, but is instead a western medical treatment that relies on a medical diagnosis to be effective. Dry Needling is based on the modern scientific study of neuroanatomy and philosophy. A skilled practitioner performs Dry Needling, and has extensive education and knowledge of the muscular and nervous system along with Orthopaedics. In contrast, acupuncture is based on eastern medical philosophy from a practitioner trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It focuses on balancing the chi and restoring the regular flow of the life force through needles inserted along the meridians of the body (energy pathways). Though both treatments use a solid filament needle, the similarity between the two treatments begins and ends at the use of this tool. Dry Needling involves the insertion of the monofilament directly into the muscle tissue, whereas acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific energy channels/meridians along surface of the body.
When does your Physical Therapist perform Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is only one aspect of treatment in Physical Therapy. It can be a powerful adjunct when used in conjunction with a carefully designed, individualized treatment plan. After the initial evaluation with your Physical Therapist, your treatment may include advanced hands-on manual techniques, therapeutic exercise to reeducate and strengthen muscles, and other modalities to reduce pain and restore optimal function and mobility. Dry Needling is not used as a stand-alone treatment, as using one aspect of treatment may offer temporary relief of symptoms, but not long term relief.
What Conditions does Dry Needling help?
In combination with Physical Therapy, Dry Needling has demonstrated effectiveness for treating many conditions including, but not limited to:
1. Chronic Pain
2. Neck and Low back pain
5. Post- surgical pain
6. Post Traumatic injury
7. Work related injuries
8. Overuse injuries
Is Dry Needling covered by insurance?
Most Insurers do not cover Dry Needling, and there is an out-of-pocket fee associated with this procedure. This fee is due before the dry needling treatment. Please contact our office for more information.