Dry needling has increased in popularity over the past decade. More providers are offering dry needling as part of physical therapy services now than ever before.
Have you heard of dry needling but wonder if it is right for you? Hopefully these answers to some of our most frequently asked questions will help you decide.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a technique used by physical therapists which utilizes thin needles that penetrate the skin and target muscles, tendons, and other tissues that may be causing or contributing to your symptoms. It can be used alone or in conjunction with electrical impulses that further stimulate the targeted tissue.
How does dry needling work?
A muscle that is chronically overworked will eventually form contractions within the muscle fibers, commonly known as “knots” or “trigger points.” The physical therapist targets these areas by performing the technique to cause a twitch response in the muscle which is a reflexive involuntary spasm where the muscle contracts and relaxes at a very deep level. This often leads to less pain and better movement. Dry needling can also be used in chronic tendinopathies. In chronic tendon problems, the body often accepts the dysfunctional tendon as normal. Dry needling is helpful by creating a mild inflammatory response so the body starts healing the area naturally.
Is dry needling the same as acupuncture?
The application of dry needling and acupuncture are very similar. However, dry needling is used to specifically target the tissues, such as muscles and tendons, that may be contributing to your pain. Dry needling does not rely on the theories of traditional Eastern medicine, such as channeling meridians or energy flow, that are used by acupuncturist.
Will I need to do traditional therapy in addition to the dry needling?
While dry needling can be used as the primary treatment, greater benefits are often achieved when combined with traditional therapies. Dry needling opens up a window of improved flexibility and decreased pain. This is the best time to perform the stretching and strengthening exercises prescribed to you by your physical therapist.
Does it hurt?
The needles used during dry needling are very small in diameter. Of course there may be some pain or discomfort during the initial prick but many people report that the pain is very minimal. Some individuals have even reported that they do not feel the needle at all. Some soreness may be present after needling, but the soreness should resolve within a few hours.
Will I need to avoid any specific activities after dry needling?
No. You will be able to return to your regular activities without restrictions unless otherwise instructed by your physical therapist.
How much does each session cost?
Currently, we include dry needling as an adjunct to your regular physical therapy visit that is billed to your insurance. We also offer a self-pay rate. Contact our office for a quote.