Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling (DN) is a skilled intervention performed by a healthcare professional. It is the insertion of a fine filiform needle into the body to stimulate a healing response in the presence of musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, or movement dysfunctions.

In what situations would dry needling be used?

A variety of patients can benefit from dry needling. Simple muscle tightness, strains and sprains, an overworked body needing recovery, muscle activation, swelling reduction, and pain modulation are all clinical examples for the use of dry needling. Research is still looking at how dry needling works in both acute and chronic situations.

How is it different from acupuncture?

Traditional acupuncture is rooted in eastern philosophy, which uses an acient meridian system for needle placement. Dry Needling is rooted in western medicine, which uses an anatomical model for needle placement. As with any tool sued in medicine, there is overlap among professionals who use the tool. The way the tool is applied is what makes it different from profession to profession.

What can I expect after a session of dry needling?

You may feel sore immediately after dry needling in the area of the body you were treated, this is normal but does not always occur. The soreness may have depending on the area of the body that was treated as well as varies from person to person, but typically feels like you had an intense workout at the gym. Soreness typically lasts 24-48 hours. In addition, you may experience bruising. Some areas are more likely to bruise than others, such as the shoulders, base of neck, and face. It is also common to feel tired after treatment. This is normal and can last up to 1-2 hours after treatment. If any of these sensations or effects persist, contact your provider.

Is dry needling for everyone?

Everyone is different and their reactions to treatment area going to vary. For example, those with a metal allergy or phobia of needles would not be a good candidate for treatment. In addition, patients who are taking blood thinners or have conditions that prolong the healing process are more likely to bruise with treatment. Your physical therapist will determine if dry needling is appropriate for you.

Benefits of Dry Needling

  • Reduces local and referred pain
  • Improves range of motion
  • Speeds up the recovery process
  • Helps muscles turn on or off