What You Should Know About Physical Therapist Dry Needling

Dry needling is a technique used by physical therapists to treat pain and movement deficits (where allowed by state legislation). A “dry” needle, one that does not contain any medication or injection, is placed through the skin into muscle tissues.

Dry needling is also known by other names, such as trigger point dry needling and intramuscular manual treatment.

Acupuncture, which is based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists, is not dry needling. Dry needling is a part of current Western medicine ideas that have been scientifically validated.

What Is a Trigger Point and How Does It Work?
Within a broader muscle group, a trigger point is a taut strip of skeletal muscle. Touching a trigger point can be painful, and touching a trigger point can elicit pain in other areas of the body.

What are the many types of needles that are used?
A fine filiform needle enters the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points, muscle, and connective tissues with dry needling. A physical therapist can use the needle to target tissues that aren’t easily perceptible.

When dry needling, physical therapists follow the Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings, and OSHA guidelines by wearing gloves and adequate personal protective equipment. Medical sharps collectors are used to disposing of sterile needles.

What are the Benefits of Dry Needling?
Dry needling is often one technique used by physical therapists as part of a bigger treatment strategy.

Dry needling is a technique used by physical therapists to reduce pain and enhance range of motion by releasing or deactivating trigger points. Dry needling improves pain control, lowers muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites where nerve impulses are delivered to muscles, according to a preliminary study. This can help the patient return to active rehabilitation more quickly.

Physical therapists receive extensive training in anatomy and therapeutic treatment of the body as part of their entry-level schooling. Physical therapists who practice dry needling receive further education and training after completing a postgraduate program. When speaking with a physical therapist about dry needling, be careful to inquire about their specific experience and education.


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