Atlas Physical Therapy | A H2 Health Company

Dry Needling

Integrative dry needling is an effective therapy that supports accelerated health and a return to an active lifestyle. It is referred to as “dry” needling because there is no solution injected. This therapeutic tool requires a specific certification that our certified physical therapists are specially trained in. When other therapy techniques haven’t worked, let our team get you back to the life you love with dry needling!

Dry Needling is also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS) and trigger point dry needling (TDN). It is a safe, effective and efficient treatment used to:

  • Relax myofascial trigger points, and
  • Restore normal muscle tones, muscle length, coordination, function and strength

Dry needling involves insertion and repetitive manipulation of a "dry", solid filament needle in a trigger point in order to produce an involuntary spinal cord reflex, also known as a local twitch response (LTR). This results in lasting muscle relaxation due to the release of shortened bands of muscle fibers for overactive (tight) muscles or the activation of under-active (weak) muscles. Deactivation of the trigger points can bring immediate relief of symptoms, so the therapist can immediately train the muscles to work with the newly gained pain free range of motion (ROM).

Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture

Dry needling is similar to acupuncture in the sense that a dry, solid filament needle is inserted and manipulated under the skin to release endorphins and serum cortisol for pain relief. The difference is that dry needling is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It creates balance in the body by influencing the flow of Qi (energy) in pathways called meridians to achieve pain relief and alleviate inflammation.

Conditions Treated by Dry Needling

Dry needling has successfully been used to treat a variety of conditions including:

  • Head and Neck Pain - including whiplash and headaches / migraines, degenerative joint disease, degenerative disk disease or osteoarthritis
  • Otological (Ear) and Opthamological (Eye) Pain - including tinnitus and eye strain
  • Dental (Teeth) and Orthodontic (Jaw and Occlusal) Pain - including cavities, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, tooth impaction and root problems
  • Shoulder Pain - including rotator cuff muscle tears, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), tendonitis and impingement syndrome
  • Elbow Pain - including lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow)
  • Hand and Wrist Pain - including gamekeeper's thumb, DeQuervain's syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis
  • Back and Hip Pain - including lumbar degenerative disc disease, arthritic changes and herniated discs
  • Knee Pain - including degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis
  • Shin / Ankle / Foot Pain - including shin splints, gout, metatarsalgia and Morton's neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
  • Acute and Chronic Tendonitis
  • Athletic and Sports-related Overuse Injuries
  • Post-surgical Pain
  • Post-traumatic Injuries, Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA), and Work-related Injuries
  • Other Chronic Pain Conditions - including myofascial pain and myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)

If dry needling is an effective treatment for your pain, you should notice a difference immediately. This may be in the form of less pain, an increased range of motion, or both.

What's next?

If you feel that dry needling is a good fit for your pain and lifestyle, it’s a excellent idea to get on a consistent treatment plan. This may be bi-weekly, monthly, or whatever you and your provider decide on. We can schedule your next appointment whenever you’re ready! While dry needling is an amazing tool for pain relief, the best medicine is always movement. Dry needling combined with consistent physical therapy has been proven to provide the best results for our patients. Call or email us to set up an initial evaluation and find out how these two treatments can combine to get you back to living your best life.

How will I feel after Dry Needling?

  • You may be sore right after treatment where Dry Needling was used. This does not
  • always happen, but it is normal. It usually feels like you had a hard workout at the gym.
  • If dry needling is right for you, you will experience pain relief and/or an increased range of motion. You may also feel more energized right after treatment.

What should I do after my treatment?

  • Drink lots of water! This helps avoid or reduce soreness.
  • Continue normal physical activity.
  • Use ice for soreness.
  • If you have prescription medications, continue to take them as prescribed.

What should I avoid after treatment?

  • Avoid exercise or strenuous activity to the muscles that have been dry needled
  • Avoid any new physical activities or sports
  • Avoid doing more than you would normally do