What is 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.