In Pain Or Injured?
Pulling the trigger on pain through “dry needling”
Are you suffering from chronic pain or a recent injury? Functional Dry Needling (FDN) may be the answer to bringing you lasting relief for a broad range of neuro-muscular-skeletal problems.
Dry needling is a mildly invasive treatment within the scope of physical therapy practice, which involves inserting a thin, flexible, monofilament needle into a dysfunctional muscle. The needle is referred to as “dry” because it does not have any medicine in it. Once the source of your pain is identified, one or more needles may be inserted into the treatment area to achieve symptom relief. The interaction of the muscle and needle will help release tightened bands of muscle tissue and decrease trigger point activity. Trigger points are hypersensitive
areas in the muscle or surrounding tissue, which can feel like a painful nodule or band when touched. When a needle is inserted into the muscle, it will cause that muscle to twitch or tighten in response. Sometimes electrical stimulation is applied to the needle to facilitate this twitch response. This action can help improve blood flow, healing, flexibility and the muscle’s ability to function without pain. Often times it can help serve to “reboot” the muscle and help it perform more normally.
Many patients experience a dramatic reduction in pain and improved function in as little as one treatment session, often with lasting relief.
People often ask if dry needling is acupuncture. The answer is no, as the intent of the treatments are very different. Acupuncture is based on Chinese medicine and focuses on addressing the flow of energy around the body and its organs. Acupuncture looks to unblock energy meridians and help create balance within the body. The overall purpose of dry needling is based more in line with western medical philosophy.
The main goals of dry needling treatment are to decrease your pain, improve flexibility and restore your function.
The most common side effect of dry needling is muscle soreness, such as when you have had a hard workout, which can last between 24-48 hours. This soreness can be addressed with either ice, stretching or light exercise. Bruising can also occur at times, but this will also resolve with time and is usually minimal. We encourage you to perform your normal activities for the day and to stay moving after a treatment session that involves dry needling.
Dry needling has very few precautions, including if you are pregnant, have active cancer, or have undergone surgery recently. Dry needling may be performed in unrelated areas as soon as six weeks after surgery and around your surgical area after 12 weeks postoperatively.
The state of Louisiana currently allows direct access to physical therapy. This means that no physician referral is necessary for you to come into the clinic or call to schedule an appointment for a dry needling assessment and treatment. Please call Specialists Hospital’s Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic at (318) 213-3810 to schedule an appointment. Clinic hours are from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday
Michael Marty, PT, DPT., is the director of the Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic for Specialists Hospital Shreveport. Michael has been a physical therapist for nine years. He, along with physical therapists Kelly Daniels and Rachel Spivey, are all specially trained to provide dry needling.