A couple months ago, I talked about “cupping”, (part 1 of this series) after it made national news when everyone saw the circular bruises on Michael Phelps’ back. It has since occurred to me that there are other modalities employed in our physical therapy clinic that could use a little illumination.
Not every therapy is an option for every patient. But sometimes your therapist can recommend something that could really make the difference between adequate and great progress.
The method I am going to discuss today is “dry needling”.
An article from the American Physical Therapy Association (cited) goes into much more detail than I can here, but a brief excerpt, “…describes the technique rather more blandly as simply a form of instrument-assisted manual therapy. Practitioners interviewed for this article characterize it, with similarly qualified enthusiasm, as a safe, easy-to-learn, minimally discomforting, and often-effective technique for patients with certain presentations.”
“Dry needling is a skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. [It] is a technique used to treat dysfunctions in skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissue, and to diminish persistent peripheral nociceptive input, and reduce or restore impairments in body structure and function, leading to improved activity and participation.”
Another way to view dry needling is as a tool in your therapist’s manual therapy tool box and it is a way to encourage specific healing and minimize pain.
The important thing to take away from this is to know that dry needling, while not for everyone, can be a safe and useful part of your physical therapy process. Your therapist at the APM and Tygiel Physical Therapy clinic will be happy to discuss if it is an option for you.