What is Dry Needling?
Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) is a treatment technique that utilizes thin, solid filament needles to deactivate and desensitize trigger points in muscles. Myofascial trigger points are knots in muscles that can contribute to pain, decreased flexibility and decreased muscle function. TDN is an effective and efficient method of releasing trigger points, especially when other manual soft tissue techniques are unable to directly release the trigger points. This method also increases blood flow to areas that have had trouble healing, like tendonitis. Agility Spine and Sports is proud to provide professional dry needling in Tucson as a productive remedy for muscle pains and discomforts. Below are some of the more popular questions we get from potential patients.
Is Dry Needling similar to Acupuncture?
No, the only similarity to acupuncture is the use of an acupuncture needle. Traditional Acupuncture aims to promote health and restore “energetic balance” by stimulating certain acupuncture points found along certain meridians throughout the body. It is one aspect of a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach which includes diagnosis and clinical reasoning using various Chinese medicine assessment methods not used by physical therapist. Western medical reasoning utilizing anatomy and neurophysiology is the basis for dry needling. Based on anatomy and research its aim is to use the needle to alter dysfunctional tissues in order to improve or restore function, in most cases specifically myofascial trigger points.
How does Dry Needling in Tucson work?
The exact mechanisms are not known. Dr. Janet Travell first described trigger point injections in the early 1940s. Injections are performed by injecting trigger points primarily with analgesics like cortisone. Over the years it has been shown that it is not the substance that is being injected that is providing the long-term therapeutic benefit, but rather the mechanical stimulus of the needle itself. When a needle tip hits a trigger point, a characteristic ‘local twitch’ in the muscle is noted by the clinician and the client. This local twitch is involuntary.
Clinical research has shown that the elicitation of local twitch responses is an important aspect in obtaining a successful therapeutic outcome for trigger point deactivation. There are a number of hypotheses as to the reasons why dry needling works.
- Dry needling and the subsequent local twitch responses may mechanically disrupt the contracted nature of the trigger point.
- Dry needling stimulates certain neurological sensors in the body which modulate pain signals.
- Dry needling and the subsequent local twitch responses can cause positive local biochemical changes and result in an increase of blood flow.
What type of problems can be treated?
Muscle dysfunction can be the primary or secondary contributing factor to many neuro musculo-skeletal conditions. Such conditions would include
- Repetitive over use/Stress injuries
- Muscle tendonitis
- Neck pain
- Rotator cuff impingement
- Frozen shoulder
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Muscle strains
- Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB)
- Patellofemoral dysfunction
- Plantar fasciitis
If active trigger points are found to be causing pain, muscle tightness, and/or muscle weakness then they would benefit from being treated by Dry Needling in Tucson.
Is the Dry needling procedure painful?
Most people do not feel the insertion of the needle. The local twitch response elicits a very brief cramping and/or deep aching sensation. Some people are sore afterwards depending on the area or procedure used by not longer than three days. Most feel improved overall after three days.
Are the needles sterile?
Yes, we only use the highest quality sterile disposable needles. We do not reuse needles.
How long does it take for the procedure to work?
In some cases, decreased pain and improved mobility is immediate. Typically, it may take a few treatment sessions for a lasting positive effect. Again we are trying to cause mechanical, biochemical and neurological changes without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to deactivate trigger points, disrupt pain and to restore optimal muscle function. Dry needling in Tucson is also an adjunct to the normal physical therapy treatment which is usually followed by exercise and a home program.
What side effects can I expect after the treatment?
It is typical to experience soreness in the area treated for 1-3 days. The soreness is quite tolerable for most and is easily alleviated with heat and stretching.
Why is my doctor not familiar with Dry needling in Tucson?
In the United States, needling is a relatively new method for treating myofascial trigger points and not everyone is already aware of this effective treatment modality. Needling therapies are very common practice for physiotherapists in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and South Africa and is slowly making its way through the United States. More and more physical therapists are incorporating Dry needling into their practice. Incorporating the treatment technique with other manual and rehabilitative methods is showing to be very effective in treating various neuro-musculoskeletal conditions.
How do I know if I am a candidate?
If you are a candidate for physical therapy in general, then at the time of treatment it will discuss with you. In the State of Arizona, you may not need a script to see a physical therapist for some insurances. Insurance does cover the procedure due to it being a form of manual therapy and is grouped with a massage or other manual techniques. If you are looking to learn more about our Dry needling in Tucson procedure give us a call and set up an appointment with one of our physical therapists today!