Functional Dry Needling (DN) is a skilled intervention used by physical therapists that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. A trigger point describes a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch and can refer pain to distant parts of the body. Physical therapists utilize functional dry needling with the goal of releasing/inactivating the trigger points, relieving pain, and restoring normal movement patterns. Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation. If you think you may benefit from dry needling, please ask your physical therapist. Cited:
Frequently asked questions:
Does it hurt? A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of this needle, however if the muscle is taut with active trigger points, the patient may feel a sensation of achiness, boggy, or a quick muscle twitch. Your trained physical therapist will be assessing your needs so please speak up if something does not feel right.
What is the difference between Acupuncture and Functional Dry Needling? Acupuncture and Functional Dry Needling do use the same tool; a solid filiform needle. Acupuncture is based on ancient theories or tenets of traditional Chinese medicine. Functional Dry Needling performed by physical therapists is based on Western Neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system.
Who can benefit from Dry Needling? Almost anyone experiencing a variety of pain including, but not limited to:
- neck and back pain
- muscle spasms
- hip/knee pain
- muscle strains
- tennis or golfers elbow
- overuse injuries
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