Washington Wellness

Trigger Point Dry Needling

What is Trigger Point Dry Needling/Intramuscular Manual Therapy/
Intramuscular Stimulation?

Dry needling is the use of solid filament needles to treat the neuro-musculoskeletal system based on pain patterns and muscular dysfunction. The needle is inserted into the skin and muscle where an active trigger point, also known as a knot, is located. This is used to break the pain cycle that the skeletal muscle may be creating. The goal of dry needling is to desensitize over sensitized structures in order to reduce pain levels and restore range of motion and function of a muscle.

Is dry needling the same as acupuncture?
No, acupuncture treatments are based on eastern medical diagnosis and require training in Chinese medicine. Dry needling is based on western medicine and requires a licensed physical therapist to have extensive knowledge and training of the nervous system, muscular system and a through understanding of orthopedics.

How does dry needling work?
There are different theories as to what is truly creating the effect but what we do know is that there is a mechanical and biomechanical effect to the tissue with the use of a filament needle. By accurately placing a needle it will provide a localized twitch response (LTR) to the contracted skeletal tissue. This may result in a lengthening of the muscle and improved range of motion. In addition, studies have demonstrated that with this contraction various chemicals in the muscle are affected resulting in a reduction in the pain cycle.

Would dry needling help me?
Dry needling is an effective adjunct to physical therapy treatment and used by an experienced licensed physical therapist. It can be used in many orthopedic conditions that range from acute to chronic conditions. Your physical therapist will use his/her expertise to determine if this treatment is needed.

Does it hurt?
When a local twitch response (LTR) is created the patient may feel an electrical shock or deep ache cramping sensation that lasts about one second. The muscle may feel sore post-needling and can this can last for a few hours to up to two days. It can be managed with heat and or ice at the patient’s discretion. It is also recommended to return to functional activity post treatment to allow the body to use its newly gained mobility.

Will I need more then one treatment?
Some patients feel an immediate change in their pain level and improved function after their first treatment. With some musculoskeletal conditions it may take up to 3 visits to see a positive change.

Do I have to have dry needling?
No, this is an adjunct modality in physical therapy and will be used along with other techniques to reduce pain and promote mobility. This is an optional tool for the therapist and the patient in treatment.

What if I have additional questions regarding trigger point dry needling?
Please feel free to call the clinic to speak with someone regarding this treatment option or refer to the links on our site.