Dry Needling

Based on modern science of the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems, Active Physical Therapy utilizes Dry Needling to treat chronic pain, acute soft tissue injuries, as well as help you achieve your fitness goals, prevent injury, and decrease workout recovery time. Dry Needling at Active Physical Therapy is a very safe and effective procedure performed by our Doctors of Physical Therapy who have all undergone advanced training and are certified as Integrative Dry Needling Providers. We were the first physical therapy clinic to provide this cutting edge treatment in Columbus, Ohio, and we’re the only clinic to allow you to get dry needling without a referral!

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling (DN) is a treatment technique that utilizes thin, solid filament needles to deactivate and desensitize trigger points in muscles. Myofascial trigger points are knots in muscles that can contribute to pain, decreased flexibility, and decreased muscle function. DN is an effective and efficient method of releasing trigger points, especially when other manual soft tissue techniques are unable to directly release or release as many trigger points.

Is DN similar to Acupuncture?

The only similarity to acupuncture is the use of an acupuncture needle. Traditional Acupuncture aims to promote health and restore energetic balance by stimulating certain acupuncture points found along meridians throughout the body. It is one aspect of a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach which includes diagnosis and clinical reasoning using various Chinese medicine assessment methods. Western or Medical Acupuncture also aims to stimulate acupuncture points along meridians, but applies it to western medical reasoning utilizing anatomy and neurophysiology as its basis and not traditional Chinese medicine. DN is based on anatomy and neurophysiology and its aim is to needle altered or dysfunctional tissues in order to improve or restore function, in most cases specifically myofascial trigger points.

How does DN work?

The exact mechanisms of DN are not known. Dr. Janet Travell first described trigger point injections in the early 1940s. Injections are performed by injecting trigger points primarily with analgesics. Over the years it has been shown that it is not the substance that is being injected that is providing the long-term therapeutic benefit, but rather the mechanical stimulus of the needle itself. When a needle tip hits the trigger point, a characteristic local twitch in the muscle is noted by the clinician and the client. This local twitch is involuntary. It has been shown that the elicitation of local twitch responses is an important aspect in obtaining a successful therapeutic outcome for trigger point deactivation.

 

There are a number of hypotheses as to the reasons why dry needling works. Dry needling and the subsequent local twitch responses may mechanically disrupt the contracted nature of the trigger point. Dry needling stimulates certain neurological sensors in the body which modulate pain signals. Dry needling and the subsequent local twitch responses can cause positive local biochemical changes and result in an increase of blood flow.

What type of problems can be treated?

Muscle dysfunction can be the primary or secondary contributing factor to many neuromuscular conditions. Such conditions would include repetitive stress injuries, muscle tendonitis, neck pain, jaw pain, headaches, rotator cuff impingement, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sciatica, muscle strains, iliotibial band syndrome, patellofemoral dysfunction, and plantar fasciitis. If active trigger points are found to be causing the pain, muscle tightness and/or muscle weakness then you would benefit from being treated by DN.

Is the procedure painful?

Most people do not feel the insertion of the needle. The local twitch response elicits a very brief cramping and/or deep aching sensation. DN may reproduce symptoms directly in the muscle being treated or may refer to other areas of the body. This is a form of referred pain, which is one of the hallmarks of trigger points. Elicitation of local twitch responses and recognizable referred pain is a good and desirable reaction because it confirms a possible source of dysfunction.

Are the needles sterile?

Yes, we only use the highest quality sterile disposable needles.

How long does it take for the procedure to work?

In some cases, decreased pain and improved mobility is immediate. Typically, it may take a few treatment sessions for a lasting positive effect. Again we are trying to cause mechanical, biochemical and neurological changes without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to deactivate trigger points, disrupt pain and to restore optimal muscle function.

What side effects can I expect after the treatment?

It is typical to experience soreness in the treated area for 1-2 days. The soreness is quite tolerable for most and is easily alleviated with cold/heat and stretching.

Is DN effective?

Yes! Recent research supports the use of DN treatment in conjunction with Physical Therapy AND new articles are coming out every week! Please see the following links for more information: Dry Needling Research

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