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Dry Needling: A valuable treatment for chronic pain

Patricia received her certification in dry needling in March of 2013 from the Dry Needling Institute which is governed by the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy. She has treated hundreds of patients for neck and back pain, TMJ disorders, headaches, tennis elbow, knee osteoarthritis and plantar fasciitis to name a few.

  • What is dry needling? Dry Needling is a valuable treatment for chronic pain, for stiffness, and to deactivate myofascial trigger points.  It is a manual therapy technique in which a small, sterile, disposable solid filament needle is used.  It involves insertion and repetitive manipulation of the needle in the myofascial trigger point in order to produce a local twitch response.  This twitch response results in local muscle relaxation due to the release of shortened bands of muscle fibers.  No medication of any kind is injected.
  • What is a Trigger Point?  A myofascial trigger point is a hyperirritable spot in a muscle which is painful to touch and is located in a taut band.  This hypersensitive spot, or nodule (the knot), can give characteristic referred pain, referred tenderness, and other referred symptoms in areas other than where the muscle is located.
  • Is dry needling acupuncture? No, Trigger Point Dry Needling is based on Western medical research and principles.  Acupuncture is based on Eastern Chinese Medicine.  Certified licensed physical therapists can use Trigger Point Dry Needling under the scope of their practice. 
  • What types of problems can be treated with dry needling? Many different musculoskeletal problems can be treated with dry needling.  Neck, back and shoulder pain, headaches including migraines and tension-type pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow),  jaw pain, and buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, groin strains, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis).  A benefit of dry needling is that we can reach into a deeper area of the muscle that is not easily palpable with our hands.
  • What can I expect after treatment?  Some patients report being sore after the treatment. Typically this soreness lasts anywhere between an hour after treatment or possibly into the next day. Soreness may be alleviated by applying ice to the area, drinking water, and performing stretches for the treated muscle.