Dry Needling Therapy
Immediate pain relief so you can enjoy life again!
ActifyPT is proud to offer the latest techniques in Dry Needling to release pain, ease acute inflammation, and promote healing in your body.
What is Dry Needling?
The art of dry needling dates back to the 1940s with Dr. Janet Travell. She identified the muscular trigger points and referral patterns brought on by “wet needling,” She soon discovered that “dry needling” gave the same results.
The dry needling technique we know today was developed by a Czech physician, Karel Lewit, in 1979.
Dry needling and acupuncture are as different as fire and ice. They only have one thing in common: the needle.
Dry needling offers an alternative treatment option for pain relief and improved muscle movement. Also known as trigger point dry needling or intramuscular manual therapy, the treatment uses a monofilament needle without medicine — to deactivate the trigger points in your muscle.
The treatment involves applying sterile, liquidless needles to the affected tension-tight, inflamed areas of the body, or trigger points. Your muscle fibers may naturally respond with a sudden spastic twitch response. It’s a part of the process and is commonly painless.
Dry needling is typically combined with other physical therapy exercises and techniques. And unlike acupuncture. dry needling focuses on trigger points in the muscle, while acupuncture relieves pain or discomfort by normalizing a patient’s energy flow.
How does dry needling work?
Dry needling works by stimulating your brain when the needles are gently pierced through your myofascial trigger points. Stay with us here. Myofascial is just an intelligent way of saying chronic muscular pain disorder. In plain English, it’s a pain caused by muscle irritation.
Benefits of Dry Needling
Dry needling has many benefits for different types of injuries and diagnoses. It has been shown to immediately increase pressure pain threshold and ROM, decrease muscle tone and decrease pain in patients with musculoskeletal conditions. The suggested mechanisms of action include:
Decrease muscle tightness
Dry needling decreases muscle tightness by drawing normal blood supply back to the area. This helps flush out toxins from the tissue and ultimately releases tension.
Increase blood flow
This is one of the core benefits of dry needling. It works to increase the blood flow to the area being treated, which helps to deliver the all-important nutrients and oxygen the body needs in those areas to heal. It also helps to encourage the natural healing and regeneration process.
Dry needling helps to relieve chronic pain that is brought on by muscle tension. It can also help alleviate pain from trigger points and other musculoskeletal conditions. This is possible to improve pain because the trigger points or knots begin to dissipate thanks to the improved blood flow in the area. More of the acidic waste created by pain is moved away from this area while oxygen moves towards it. Dry needling can also play an important role in muscle recovery, with the main focus being muscle and connective tissue regeneration and healing to and trying to restore mobility.
The use of this therapy may improve the range of motion, flexibility, and function for many people. That is why it can be particularly beneficial to athletes as well as people who have physical disabilities. It is not easy to find other strategies for improving painfully tight muscles like dry needling does. If you are experiencing limited mobility when moving and muscle weakness when not moving, dry needling can support your recovery. It is often best to combine dry needling with physical therapy as a way to build up strength and encourage proper function of the body, including improving the full range of motion.
Dry needling can help to encourage healing and recovery from many types of soft tissue injuries. That includes strains and sprains. To do this well, it works to reduce inflammation in that area and encourages the body’s natural ability to heal. Another way it does this is by creating very small, even tiny, injuries within the muscle. As a result of this, it stimulates the body’s need to heal that area. Your body responds to the inflammation caused by the needle, responding quickly to it. The result is that your body’s immune system goes to work to stimulate the healing process. It starts to develop collagen and protein formation in the impacted area. This helps to encourage the muscle to heal and restore its normal function. Yet another way this helps is by working alongside physical therapy to make the most of your window of opportunity or the period that you have to relearn and reestablish the proper movement of your muscles and the muscle recruitment patterns.
Accelerates your body’s natural healing processes
Inserting a sharp, thin needle into your body’s trigger points relaxes the muscles, boosts blood flow, diminishes inflammation, and triggers a healing response.
Improves nerve communication
and triggers signals in your body to release natural pain relievers like endorphins which act as analgesics. In simple words, this means they lessen the perception of pain, while the prick sensation fires off nerve fibers that stimulate your brain to release endorphins — hormones that act as your body’s natural pain relievers.
Resolves headaches and migraines
Dry needling aims for trigger points in the muscles and tissue to help soothe and relieve tension. This prevents headaches and helps ease the pressure caused by headaches.
Local Twitch Response
Dry needling can elicit a ‘local twitch response’ which is an involuntary spinal reflex resulting in a localized contraction of the affected muscles that are being dry-needled. Local twitch response can lead to alteration in the length and tension of muscle fibers and stimulate mechanoreceptors like A Beta fibers.
Effects on Blood Flow
Sustained contraction of taut muscle bands in trigger points might cause local ischemia and hypoxia. Dry needling causes vasodilation in the small blood vessels leading to increased muscle blood flow and oxygenation.
Dry needling can elicit local and central nervous responses, promoting homeostasis at the trigger point site and leading to a decrease in both central and peripheral sensitization to pain.
Dry needling of distal MTrP has been found to have an analgesic effect on proximal MTrP. The literature has conflicting evidence regarding the contralateral effect
Expectations regarding dry needling can strongly influence pain perception
Electrical Dry Needling - EDN
Electrical dry needling (EDN) involves the insertion of two needles functioning as electrodes to administer an electric current. One of the primary benefits of utilizing EDN in clinical practice or acupuncture research lies in its ability to objectively and quantifiably regulate stimulation frequency and intensity.
In clinical settings, both low- and high-frequency electrostimulation are commonly employed for various conditions. Low-frequency stimulation is particularly recommended for addressing muscular atrophy, while high-frequency stimulation is preferred for managing spinal spasticity. In animal studies, for instance, EDN with 2-Hz stimulation appears to induce acupuncture analgesia by triggering the release of endomorphin, β-endorphin, and enkephalin, which bind to μ and δ opioid receptors. Conversely, EDN with 100-Hz stimulation enhances the release of dynorphin, which binds to opioid receptors in the spinal cord dorsal horn, thereby producing an acupuncture analgesic effect.
Numerous studies have shown a comprehensive neuro-matrix response involving the limbic system and limbic-related brain structures, including the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, cingulate, prefrontal and insular cortices, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. In human studies, the results indicate a greater impact on limbic and limbic-related brain structures with genuine EDN compared to nonspecific or placebo stimulation. Specifically, the hemodynamic response elicited a signal increase in significant limbic-related regions such as the insula, thalamus, cerebellum, and the anterior middle cingulate cortex. Notably, however, there was a signal decrease observed in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex.
How Long Does It Take for Dry Needling to Work?
In numerous instances, enhanced mobility becomes apparent immediately, and a reduction in pain is experienced within 24 hours. Generally, achieving a lasting positive effect may require several treatment sessions, often scheduled once a week for 2-3 weeks.
What are the Advantages of Dry Needling?
Dry needling offers a distinct advantage over other techniques by enabling the treatment of muscle areas and deeper layers inaccessible to hands and fingers. Moreover, it tends to act more swiftly than a massage in relaxing muscles.
Trigger point deactivation through dry needling can promptly alleviate symptoms, facilitating immediate stretching and muscle training within the newfound pain-free range of motion. Consequently, dry needling achieves results unattainable through any other treatment method.
Dry needling involves no medication, allowing for the treatment of numerous trigger points during each session.
Does Dry Needling Hurt?
We utilize extremely thin filament needles, ensuring that the initial sensation of needle insertion through the skin is minimal, far less than that experienced during a vaccination or blood draw. Upon reaching the muscle, the twitch sensation resembles a deep cramp and typically subsides within 15-30 seconds. Post-treatment, muscle soreness may persist for 12-24 hours, colloquially referred to as being "needle sore," yet the enduring benefits of the treatment make it
Will Dry Needling Help Me?
For individuals who experience temporary relief with massage but are frustrated by the return of discomfort, dry needling offers a superior solution for achieving longer-lasting and more profound relief. Unlike other forms of bodywork, dry needling enables us to target nearly any muscle in the body and address muscle depths that are otherwise inaccessible. Many trigger points reside too deeply within the tissue for effective treatment through massage, even with deep tissue techniques. Dry needling enhances the effectiveness of physical therapy by allowing us to eliminate deep knots and restrictions that were previously unreachable, thereby maximizing the benefits of treatment.
How Many Needles Will I Need?
During the initial session, we adopt a gradual approach to acquaint you with the technique. We prioritize a select few muscles that are pivotal to addressing your concerns, as focusing on these key areas can provide significant relief with minimal soreness. Subsequent treatments will hone in on more specific areas to further refine the effects. Sessions are typically spaced 5-7 days apart, and you can anticipate feeling a notable difference after just 2 or 3 sessions.
How Will I Feel After Dry Needling?
Following the session, you'll notice positive changes immediately, characterized by decreased pain and improved mobility. You may experience soreness akin to that felt after a rigorous workout, with the muscle feeling fatigued. This soreness typically lasts from a few hours to 1 or 2 days but should not impede your daily activities. We encourage you to remain active during this period to minimize soreness, allowing you to continue with your regular activities and gym routine.
After a day or so, you'll begin to experience a lasting reduction in pain and tightness. Long-standing chronic muscle pain that you believed to be permanent will gradually diminish. If you've been enduring persistent muscle pain, we welcome the opportunity to provide further details about this treatment option and address any questions or concerns you may have.
How is DNT different than acupuncture?
While various philosophies guide practices such as acupuncture, eastern educational institutes typically adhere to the Daoist concept of yin and yang. Traditional Chinese Acupuncture operates on the belief that the human body's functioning is regulated by an energy known as "Qi," which circulates between organs along pathways called "meridians," each corresponding to specific bodily functions. The smooth flow of energy through these meridians is essential for achieving and maintaining equilibrium. Acupuncturists aim to restore the balance of Qi by inserting needles into specific energy points, or acupoints, on the body. During a session, typically, four to ten acupoints are addressed, with sessions lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
Both dry needling therapy (DNT) and acupuncture have demonstrated positive clinical outcomes.
As doctors of physical therapy and movement specialists, our approach is different from the acupuncture treatment. We begin with a comprehensive examination to assess and address deficits in strength and flexibility. Our treatment plan focuses on targeting specific muscle imbalances and correcting faulty or compensatory movement patterns tailored to each individual's unique case and injury.
It's important to recognize that every patient and injury presents a distinct set of circumstances, requiring personalized attention and treatment. For further information, feel free to reach out to us!
Is Dry Needling Right For Me?
Dry needling is a viable manual treatment option for individuals experiencing:
Neuromusculoskeletal or myofascial pain
Muscular strains (such as neck, lower back, shoulder strains, etc.)
Any type of tendinitis
Headaches or migraines, jaw pain (TMJ), sciatica
Any referred pain or sciatic type of pain
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
It can be particularly beneficial in addressing these conditions and providing relief from associated symptoms.
Who Should Not Get Dry Needling?
**It's important to note that certain individuals should avoid dry needling or consult with a healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure. These include:
Individuals with an ongoing infection should wait until the infection resolves completely before undergoing dry needling.
Pregnant women should avoid dry needling.
People who may not understand the purpose of dry needling or have a strong fear of needles should refrain from undergoing the procedure.
**Individuals taking blood thinners or those with the following conditions should consult their healthcare provider before trying dry needling to ensure its safety:
Compromised immune system
It's essential to prioritize safety and discuss any concerns or medical conditions with a healthcare provider before proceeding with dry needling.