What is dry needling?

Dry Needling

Dry​ ​Needling​ ​is​ ​a​ ​soft​ ​tissue​ ​manual​ ​therapy​ ​technique​ ​using​ ​tiny​ ​filament​ ​needles.​ ​The​ ​needles are​ ​safely​ ​guided​ ​into​ ​dysfunctional​ ​muscle​ ​tissue​ ​to​ ​aid​ ​in​ ​restoration​ ​of​ ​proper​ ​movement patterns.​ ​​​The​ ​needles​ ​may​ ​be​ ​used​ ​with​ ​or​ ​without​ ​electric​ ​stimulation​ ​to​ ​release​ ​overactive areas​ ​of​ ​the​ ​muscle​ ​commonly​ ​called​ ​trigger​ ​points​ ​or​ ​to​ ​wake​ ​up​ ​dormant​ ​stabilizing​ ​muscles, improving​ ​their​ ​neural​ ​response.​ ​Waking​ ​up​ ​stabilizing​ ​muscles​ ​helps​ ​to​ ​take​ ​excessive​ ​load and​ ​strain​ ​off​ ​primary​ ​movers,​ ​thus​ ​allowing​ ​these​ ​larger​ ​muscles​ ​to​ ​accomplish​ ​their​ ​intended muscle​ ​action​ ​more​ ​effectively​ ​and​ ​relax​ ​when​ ​not​ ​needed.

Does it hurt?

Since​ ​the​ ​needles​ ​are​ ​so​ ​small​ ​and​ ​have​ ​a​ ​cone​ ​shaped​ ​point​ ​to​ ​them,​ ​many​ ​patients​ ​have difficulty​ ​knowing​ ​the​ ​needles​ ​are​ ​“in.”​ ​When​ ​a​ ​trigger​ ​point​ ​is​ ​targeted​ ​correctly​ ​the​ ​body responds​ ​with​ ​a​ ​Deep​ ​Twitch​ ​Response​ ​(DTR)​ ​which​ ​is​ ​most​ ​commonly​ ​described​ ​as​ ​a​ ​light cramping​ ​sensation​ ​typically​ ​lasting​ ​less​ ​than​ ​a​ ​second.​ ​​​A​ ​DTR​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sign​ ​of​ ​an​ ​effective treatment​ ​and​ ​research​ ​has​ ​shown​ ​muscular​ ​changes​ ​begin​ ​immediately​ ​following​ ​this response.​ ​​​Patients​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​have​ ​some​ ​soreness​ ​after​ ​treatment​ ​similar​ ​to​ ​muscle​ ​feeling​ ​after​ ​a strenuous​ ​workout.​ ​That​ ​said,​ ​your​ ​therapist​ ​will​ ​be​ ​in​ ​constant​ ​communication​ ​with​ ​you​ ​to​ ​alter or​ ​cease​ ​the​ ​treatment​ ​if​ ​needed.


How​ ​will​ ​I​ ​know​ ​the​ ​treatment​ ​is​ ​effective?
Your​ ​therapist​ ​will​ ​perform​ ​a​ ​movement​ ​screen​ ​prior​ ​to​ ​treatment​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​identify dysfunctional​ ​or​ ​asymmetrical​ ​movements​ ​or​ ​range​ ​of​ ​motion​ ​that​ ​will​ ​be​ ​targeted​ ​during​ ​your session.​ ​Post-treatment​ ​retesting​ ​often​ ​shows​ ​immediate​ ​and​ ​significant​ ​improvements​ ​in​ ​range of​ ​motion,​ ​flexibility,​ ​and​ ​movement​ ​quality​ ​of​ ​identified​ ​dysfunctional​ ​movements.​ ​Following treatment,​ ​your​ ​therapist​ ​will​ ​then​ ​prescribe​ ​corrective​ ​exercises​ ​to​ ​help​ ​maintain​ ​gains​ ​from​ ​the treatment.


What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​risks​ ​factors?
The​ ​most​ ​serious​ ​risk​ ​factor​ ​is​ ​a​ ​punctured​ ​lung,​ ​however,​ ​your​ ​therapist​ ​is​ ​trained​ ​to​ ​avoid areas​ ​of​ ​the​ ​body​ ​that​ ​have​ ​access​ ​to​ ​the​ ​lung​ ​field​ ​to​ ​minimize​ ​this​ ​risk.​ ​Some​ ​patients​ ​may have​ ​bruising​ ​or​ ​small​ ​areas​ ​of​ ​skin​ ​irritation.​ ​Most​ ​patients​ ​have​ ​zero​ ​visible​ ​bleeding​ ​from​ ​the treatment.​ ​


Does​ ​it​ ​cost​ ​extra​ ​money?
No,​ ​your​ ​treatment​ ​costs​ ​are​ ​included​ ​in​ ​your​ ​physical​ ​therapy​ ​session​ ​cost,​​ ​as​ ​dry needling​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​many​ ​manual​ ​therapy​ ​techniques​ ​that​ ​will​ ​be​ ​utilized​ ​during​ ​a​ ​treatment session.​ ​​​Manual​ ​therapy​ ​techniques​ ​are​ ​billed​ ​as​ ​CPT​ ​code​ ​97140.