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What is Dry Needling?
While the name may sound intimidating, dry needling is a safe and effective technique for patients with certain musculoskeletal presentations; it is used for the treatment of pain and movement impairments. Muscles, tendons, fascia, joint capsules, ligaments and scar tissue can be treated. It uses a "dry" needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into affected areas of the muscle called trigger points.
Dry needling is NOT acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is part of modern Western medicine principles that include the evaluation of pain patterns, posture, movement impairments, function and orthopedic tests. Only the soft tissue directly related to the condition is needled and it is performed by skilled, trained physical therapists, certified in the procedure.
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What is a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a local contracture or tight band in a muscle fiber that can disrupt function, restrict range of motion, refer pain or cause local tenderness. When dry needling is applied to a dysfunctional muscle or trigger point, it can decrease banding or tightness, increase blood flow, and reduce local and referred pain.
Why Dry Needling?
Physical therapists use dry needling to release or inactivate these trigger points to relieve pain and/or improve range of motion. Research shows it improves pain control, reduces muscle tension and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. It can change the way the brain and muscles talk to each other to let the system return to a more normal movement pattern; this can help speed up a patient's return to active rehabilitation. Dry needling is almost always used as a part of an overall treatment plan that also includes some type of therapeutic exercise, manual therapy and education.
What Kind of Needles Are Used?
Dry needling involves a thin, sterile, disposable filiform needle that penetrates the skin. Physical therapists wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when dry needling, consistent with Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings and OSHA standards. The sterile needles are disposed of in a medical sharps collector.
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Is Dry Needling Covered by My Health Insurance?
While research indicates dry needling is a safe and effective approach for treating and managing pain, most insurance companies do not yet reimburse for the procedure; it is a cash-based service.
If you are interested in learning more about dry needling, or scheduling an appointment with Dr. D'Addario, kindly call either office today!
HDPT Wakefield & Burlington are both open from 7am – 7pm, Monday through Friday. There are no waiting lists for new patients, same day appointments and free injury screenings are always available, and the clinics are conveniently located right off major highways. They accept every health insurance plan, often do not require a referral, and work with you to create a smooth and hassle-free rehabilitation experience. Find us at https://www.HDPTonline.com.
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