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Dry Needling

Dry Needling is a natural but effective way to heal your pain.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a treatment method that uses a thin, solid needle to deactivate muscle and soft tissue pain and discomforts. Muscles and body tissue can create painful knots, tension, and immobility anywhere on the body. The increase in soft tissue tension and stress will create and sustain your pain. Using a small sterile needle along with traditional manual therapy methods, we go directly to the pain source and encourage immediate healing.

How does Dry Needling Work?

In the 1940s, Dr. Janet Travell MD described the use of Trigger Point (muscle) injections with medication. Trigger points are injected with analgesics in most cases. However, in more recent years, it has been demonstrated that it is not the medication injected that creates healing and pain relief, but rather the needle being inserted into the sore or painful muscle. Basically when the needle makes contact with the sore or painful muscle, it causes the muscle to twitch involuntarily. The twitch response is what creates the deactivation of the painful muscle. The reason why dry needling works is not exactly known for certain, however a number of research hypotheses have been presented.

Most believe that the needle stimulates neurological sensors within the muscle and surrounding tissue that changes the pain signals. This pain signal change causes positive biochemical changes resulting in increased blood flow to the area. Basically, when the needle is inserted in the muscle, the muscle grabs the needle and then immediately releases (twitch), permitting increased blood flow, decreasing pain and healing the injured area.

What Areas of the Body or Problems do you treat with Dry Needling?

Virtually any area in your body can be treated. Examples of conditions than can be treated are:

  • TMJ

  • Headaches

  • Tendonitis

  • Neck pain

  • Rotator cuff impingements

  • Frozen shoulder

  • Carpal Tunnel

  • Joint dysfunction

  • Sciatica

  • Muscle Strain/Weakness

  • Plantar Fasciitis

  • Osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, and shoulder

  • Overuse injuries

  • Sport injuries

  • Pelvic pain

  • Chronic Pain

Does It Hurt?

Most patients do not feel anything when the needle enters the skin because the needle is very thin (unlike a needle used for injecting medication). The twitch response creates a brief cramping or aching sensation. There may be some soreness 1-2 days following the needling session but hot or cold packs can diminish the discomfort as can over the counter pain medication.

Does It Require Advanced Training or Can Anyone Do This?

Dry needling does require specialized training at various levels. In addition, there are courses offered domestically and internationally. In addition to obtaining Advanced Dry Needling training, it is also important to have a very good understanding of the human anatomy and excellent skills in manual therapy (to locate the necessary soft tissue restrictions). Our staff is trained to do regular needling and deep needling.

Are There Risks?

As with any procedure there are risks. However, the following risks are minimized by the skill and practice procedures used by the therapist (i.e. using sterilized needles). Risks of Dry Needling include; soreness, feeling faint (if nervous about needles), nerve injury, vascular injury, penetration of visceral organ, increased spasms, infection and hematoma.

How Quickly Will I See Results?

In many cases, you will experience decreased pain and improved mobility immediately. On average, it will take several sessions for a lasting positive change. Because mechanical, biochemical, and neurological changes are taking place without the use of medication, it requires a cumulative response to deactivate sore muscles, disrupt pain, and restore optimal muscle function.

Is Dry Needling a Form of Acupuncture?

Dry Needling is not Acupuncture. Dry Needling is based on western medical neuro and physiological science. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine and addresses acu-points which are stationary points on the body. There may be overlap at times if dry needling and acu-points are in the same location, but the science and skill required to treat is not the same.

Why Doesn’t My Physician or Other Health Care Providers Know About This?

Dry needling is relatively new to the United States. In fact, Dr. Leon Bradway DPT MS OMPT was the first to introduce this technique to the Brazos Valley several years ago. He is still trying to provide information about the effectiveness of this technique to other Health Care providers in the area. In addition, in the United States we have a tendency to look toward a pharmaceutical solution first before looking for more natural methods. This technique has been used extensively in Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and other countries for a number of years with great results!

If your doctor would like more information about this technique, our therapists would be happy to talk with them further. Physical Therapy has the necessary tools to reduce or eliminate your pain and improve your quality of life. Call for your treatment session today!

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