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What Is Dry Needling?

What Is Dry Needling?

So, maybe you’ve had a friend or family member rave about the “needling” they had performed by their physical therapist or Chiropractor. They explained that it helped them “loosen up” or decrease pain where massage just could not hit the spot. Maybe they even incorrectly stated that they had acupuncture as the two treatments can look very similar.

Dry needling indeed has become a very popular method to reduce pain and improve musculoskeletal function in recent years. So what is it? With the use of a thin monofilament needle, muscles are stimulated directly with needle insertion resulting in decreased tone (muscle tension) and pain in those with musculoskeletal conditions. Often, preceding the relief, a “twitch response” is felt upon needle insertion to an overly tender or tight region which is sometimes termed a “trigger point”. There have been other mechanisms of relief seen in studies including increased blood flow to tissues and neurophysiological responses (decreasing sensitivity through the nervous system).

While dry needling can be a very useful tool, it is not appropriate for everyone and not appropriate for every condition. It is very safe overall but like any invasive treatment, risks are there. Finding a practitioner well-versed in dry needling and anatomical structures is a must. Most importantly, it is rarely the sole treatment method to correct an injury but rather serves as a potential catalyst to get you to recover faster. Addressing tissue resilience, mobility, and training practices is always a necessity in promoting optimal treatment! There are few silver bullets out there when it comes to medicine but it is nice when a part of the process is as easy to receive as dry needling; so, I would not rule it out as a helpful tool for you!

Written by Joey Przybyla, PT, DPT at Up and Running Physical Therapy

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Dr. AJ Cohen

Up And Running Physical Therapy

"We Help Runners And Active Adults In The Fort Collins Area Overcome Injury And Be Stronger Than Ever, Avoid Unnecessary Time Off, All Without Medications, Injections, Or Surgery."