5 Things To Know About Dry Needling
The more we study dry needling, the more we understand its benefit and expand its use in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. Addressing everything from low back pain, migraines, and sports injuries; dry needling proves beneficial in the most common muscle, tendon, ligament, and joint issues.
Since we utilize this technique, it is important to for patients to know what to expect from treatment, and what conditions can benefit from this therapy.
The most common issues we treat in the office
1. WHAT IS DRY NEEDLING?
Dry needling is a skilled technique performed by trained acupuncturist or MD aimed at managing neuro-musculoskeletal injuries, pain, and movement dysfunction. Dry Needling utilizes the same thin filiform acupuncture needle to penetrate the skin, fascia, and muscles to address adhesions, trigger points, and connective tissue. By doing dry needling, just like in acupuncture, we are able to speed up healing and relieve pain by decreasing muscle hypertonicity, increasing joint range of motion, and correcting movement dysfunction through releasing a trigger point adhesion.
2. DRY NEEDLING AND ACUPUNCTURE ARE TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF APPOINTMENTS
Acupuncture is an ancient traditional Chinese technique that utilizes the knowledge of meridians, reflex points, and fascia networks. This focus allows an acupuncturist to work on more than just muscle pain but also a person's internal health disorders, energy, and qi. Work up and exam include a physical, tongue, and pulse examination. Needles are retained for around 15-25 mins.
Dry needling focuses on skeletal, muscular, and neuroanatomy. This allows for the identification of damaged and sensitive tissues, taut bands, and trigger points as well as injured and overused tissues. At SFIM we utilize an extensive examination that includes movement analysis and orthopedic evaluation. Needles are not generally retained. A muscle twitch is elicited and then the needle is removed.
3. WHAT ARE TRIGGER POINTS?
A trigger point is a spot of muscle/fascia that is hypersensitive and composed of a taut muscular/fascial bands. These taut bands restrict oxygenated blood flow, and can refer pain and tenderness while causing dysfunction. Trigger points can and may develop during occupational, recreational or sports activities when muscle use exceeds the muscles capacity to handle stress, disturbing normal recovery. Dry needling differs from other types of therapy because it focuses on stimulating these trigger points and releasing the tension in order to alleviate pain.
4. WHY YOU FEEL THAT MUSCLE JUMP?
That muscle jump you feel is also called a fasciculation or twitch response. It is a localized, reflexive response of a dysfunctional area of muscle to palpation, or in our case, a dry needle. When needling these adhesive knots and trigger points, this is one of our goals as it leads to a rapid release of a taut muscle band, decreasing tightness and sensitivity of the surrounding area. A tight muscle or one with a trigger point will feel an achy discomfort with an occasional twitching or cramping sensation. This fasciculation response returns the muscle to a normal state by releasing inflammatory chemicals and restoring blood flow to the area.
5. DOES IT HURT?
The Dry Needling technique uses acupuncture needles. These are thin filiform needles used to penetrate skin, fascia and muscles to address adhesions, trigger points and connective tissue to speed healing and relieve pain. Often, our patients will describe the sensation as "odd and weird" but not painful per se. Patients will experience a mild, dull ache during treatment and up to 24 hours post treatment. Some discomfort is experienced during the rapid fasciculation but this discomfort is minimal and last only a few seconds. It is normal to have mild to moderate muscle soreness after dry needling treatment. Drinking lots of water, stretching, moving your body and heating the sore muscles can reduce the duration of the soreness. Side effects include mild muscle soreness and bruising in some patients.
Bonus - Is Dry Needling Covered By Insurance?
While dry needling is a new spin on an old technique, it's unfortunately only covered by around 5-10% of insurance plans. Luckily, it is covered by FSA and HSA plans.
Click here to enter your insurance information to see if your plan covers Dry Needling.
Our dry needling appointments are focused, one on one sessions. Fees are $250 for initial consultation, exam and treatment, $200 for follow up sessions
Please Reach Out With Any Questions!