Dry Needling – Some Things To Consider
As being one of the few physical therapists in northern Utah to be Advanced Level 3 FDN certified by Kinetacore, there are a few things that I am sure to remember when considering using dry needling with a patient. These things are just as important, if not more so, than the actual technique itself. Here they are:
Not all trigger points are “abnormal.” – Trigger points commonly occur in muscles, especially in certain parts of your body. Just because you have a tight spot in your muscle that is not particularly comfortable to push on, does not mean that it is something to be worried about. If you push on the trigger point and it causes referred pain to another part of your body, dry needling might be right for you.
An expert in dry needling is not someone who can needle everything on everyone. An expert is someone who knows when not to treat a muscle with needling. There needs to be a purpose behind anything needled. More needles does not mean better expert care or technique.
The exercise portion of the dry needling treatment session is just as important as the needling itself. Tissues that become stiff, tight or weak will want to return to being stiff, tight and weak…unless you retrain it to do otherwise. Proper input into these muscles/tissues is necessary to have less pain and higher function for longer periods of time. If you are not given exercises by your therapist, you are not being treated properly.
Dry needling is not the answer for everyone…or for every situation. It might help eliminate your headache pain that is coming from your neck muscles. Then again, it might not reduce the pain that is running down the back of your leg due to a herniated disc or pinched nerve. Sometimes it takes more than one treatment session to notice any changes in your pain or weakness with dry needling.
If you are considering dry needling as a potential option for you, make sure that you feel confident in your physical therapist’s skills and knowledge base. Ask him/her any questions you have, either before or after having it done to make sure that you understand the why’s, what’s, and how’s of the technique. An experienced and confident dry needling therapist can help get you Back To Life, sometimes much quicker than with typical physical therapy techniques.