What is dry needling?

Dry Needling (DN) involves inserting a tiny monofilament needle into symptomatic tissue with the intent to reduce pain, increase circulation and improve function of the neuro-musculoskeletal system. DN is not traditional Chinese Acupuncture, but instead is based on neurology, physiology and western medical principles. DN is a valuable treatment for musculoskeletal pain.

What type of problems can be treated with Dry Needling?

Dry Needling can be used for a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Trigger points can play both a primary and secondary role in symptoms being treated. For this reason, dry needling is typically combined with other hands-on techniques of the muscles and joints as well as more exercise based treatments. Conditions that have been shown to respond favorably to dry needling are neck and back pain, shoulder and arm pain (including tennis elbow, carpal tunnel and golfer’s elbow), hip and sciatic pain, leg pain (including hamstring strains and calf tightness/spasms) and some instances of foot pain. A full examination always precedes our treatments and treatment options will be discussed to ensure you are receiving individualized care.

Is Dry Needling painful?

Most patients do not feel the insertion of the needle. A desirable local muscle twitch does typically elicit a very brief uncomfortable response. The uncomfortable response may be described as a little electrical shock, muscle twitching, or a cramping sensation.

What side effects can I expect after the treatment?

Most patients report being sore after the procedure. The soreness is described as muscle soreness over the area treated and into the areas of referred symptoms. Typically, the soreness lasts between a few hours and 2 days.

How long does it take for the Dry Needling to work?

Very often, an immediate change is seen in the sensitivity of the trigger point (as well as nearby trigger points), range of motion, muscle tone and overall pain levels. For some others, this response may take multiple treatments. By combining dry needling with other hands on techniques, exercise and grading your activity back to a desirable level will elicit the most favorable and lasting results. The quickness in response is often related to how long the symptoms have existed with more persistent symptoms requiring more treatments and a more graded approach to treatment.

"Following a trimalleolar ankle fracture and surgery, the Louisville Physical Therapy team served an integral role during my healing and recovery process. Once we started dry needling, I noticed a drastic positive change; my inflammation decreased and my range of motion increased. I wholeheartedly recommend the Louisville Physical Therapy team. I cannot thank them enough for helping me regain my strength, mobility, and independence!"

- Amanda Meadows

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