What is Dry Needling?
Physical Therapists utilize dry needling to treat musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. While the technique has been around for over 40 years, there was an explosion in popularity among Physical Therapists in the 2010s. During that time, the Physical Therapy practice acts in various states began to allow PTs to perform the techniques with proper training. There was also growth in certification programs to teach dry needling, all with some variability. Physical Therapists need to take educational classes beyond those offered in their degree programs to learn and perform the techniques safely and effectively.
As of June 2023, most states (including Wisconsin), allow Physical Therapists to perform dry needling.
Physical Therapists commonly use dry needling to treat trigger points, or tight knots found within muscles. The therapist inserts a thin, solid needle directly into the trigger point to deactivate or release the knot. Often, there is manipulation of the needle to help elicit a muscle twitch. This can be an effective way to reduce pain and tightness. However, it is only one of the ways Physical Therapists can utilize dry needling.
Integrative Dry Needling
At Elite Bodyworks, we utilize Integrative Dry Needling. This specialized technique is unlike standard trigger point methods. There is less focus on tight knots in muscles. We focus on addressing the inflammation, nerve sensitization, circulation abnormalities, and general tissue stresses that are present during injuries. In some cases, the therapist may still target trigger points, but the treatment doesn’t end there.
Instead of placing the needles only in trigger points, we may also include targets around related muscle groups, nerves, bones, tendons, or areas of inflammation. The therapist may use electric stimulation to activate muscle pumping to enhance this effect or address weakened muscles. We may leave the needles in for a period of time for a more robust response. Many people find this technique less painful and more effective than traditional methods. This dry needling method is especially helpful in treating headaches.
Additional benefits to athletes
Integrative dry needling techniques are especially beneficial to athletes. By addressing overuse syndromes and injuries in their earliest stages, we can help an athlete continue to perform at a high level without missing practice or competition. We can also utilize dry needling as part of the recovery process to keep an athlete’s body able to handle the demands of their sport, allowing enhanced performance and less injury moving forward.
Ready to try an enhanced dry needling experience?
If you’ve had dry needling in the past that was focused only on trigger points, you owe it to yourself to try an integrated approach. You may be surprised by the results! Contact Elite Bodyworks today!