Lisa Shorter, Physical Therapist, PT, MSPT, CMTPT/DN
Dry Needling is a safe, therapeutic procedure performed by trained providers. In the State of Maryland, physical therapists must have specialized training and pass certification to practice dry needling. It is used in the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. When applied to a dysfunctional muscle or trigger point, dry needling can decrease banding or tightness, increase blood for the health of the tissue and reduce local and referred pain. Dry needling may also be used to unwind scar tissue and reduce adhesions that cause pain, impact alignment and cause dysfunctional movement patterns.
What is a trigger point? A trigger point is a local contracture or tight band in a muscle fiber that can disrupt function, cause weakness, restrict range of motion, refer pain and/or cause local tenderness.
What happens during the procedure? A thin needle penetrates the skin into underlying muscular trigger points. The needle may be maneuvered in and out of the trigger point to release the tissue and create a therapeutic outcome.
Are there any precautions? Some precautions to be considered with the use of dry needling are the presence of a local or systemic infection, an increased bleeding tendency or a compromised immune system. This and other precautions are discussed further with your practitioner before dry needling is performed.
Is Dry Needling the same as Acupuncture? Dry needling is not acupuncture. Both acupuncture and dry needling use thin, stainless steel needles. Traditional Acupuncture is based on Eastern medicine where needle(s) are used to restore energy pathways.
What does Dry Needling feel like? During the procedure, you may experience a twitching of the muscle, a sting or an ache. These sensations are regarded as a good sign that your tissue is responding to the treatment. After the session, it is important to keep hydrated and drink extra water. It is not unusual to experience soreness, fatigue and sometimes bruising.
Does Dry Needling fix my problem? Dry Needling alone is not a cure. It should be used in conjunction with a comprehensive therapy plan including postural education, muscle balance training, an exercise regimen and manual therapy, as examples to ensure the best outcome possible for you and an improved quality of life. Is Dry Needling covered by my insurance? Most insurance carriers consider dry needling "not medically necessary". Dry needling is offered as a self pay service. Please contact the office for additonal information or scheduling dry needling services.