Dry Needling – A Valuable Tool in the PT’s Tool Bag

Dry needling

“Would something like acupuncture help my problem?”

“A friend of mine recommended acupuncture, what do you think?”

I hear questions like these every week from patients in the clinic. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and is one of the leading alternative medical treatments in the country for a large variety of conditions. Whether or not one believes in the needles’ ability to fix a “pattern of disharmony” or “restore proper qi”, at the end of the day, the needles work.

Through the study of both acupuncture and trigger point injections (anesthetic injected into muscle “knots”), the practice of dry needling has been developed. This technique involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin to target the muscles, nerves, and joints that may be contributing to a patient’s pain and/or stiffness. Much research in recent years has tried to establish what effect the needles are having underneath the surface, and explanations include muscle relaxation, increasing blood flow, and releasing of the body’s own pain relieving chemicals.

For now, let’s put the science aside and go with a real life success story:

I had a patient come to me with a sudden onset of significant knee pain following a long vacation day of walking. The pain and swelling were bad enough that he needed to use crutches to avoid putting any weight through his leg. We started making progress, but he had a big presentation for work in Boston coming up that he needed to be ready for. I brought up needling as a means to target the tight muscles pain around his knee to at least give enough relief to make his trip. 15 minutes later he walked out of the clinic without crutches, minimal pain, and just a mild limp (by the way the presentation went really well). A few weeks and a couple sessions later, he was playing beach volleyball with no pain.

It’s not that the needles “fixed” this gentleman’s problem, but rather that they provided the pain relief and motion necessary to continue with exercises and stretches and allow his knee to heal. Dry needling isn’t some magic cure, but another tool in our tool bag that allows us to get our patients back to doing what they need and want to do.

I’ve seen patients get relief literally from head (headaches) to toe (plantar fasciitis) and many places in between!

Wondering if dry needling may be beneficial for you? Be sure to ask your therapist or stop in for a free 15 minute consultation. We have many therapists at The Center certified in this growing area of treatment who can assess if dry needling can be included in your treatment plan to help you get back to living beyond your limits!

Share this post with your friends

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

News and events information, health and nutrition tips, and more!