What types of patients can benefit from functional dry needling?
Injured muscles and tendons can develop “bands” of thickened (scar) tissue that inhibit proper contraction and performance. These thickened bands or trigger points can cause localized pain, referred pain, muscle inhibition, and/or hypersensitivity.
Dry Needling these trigger points resets the biochemical properties and releases them so that proper muscle contraction can occur. Essentially, trigger points are areas of pain where you may have had an injury, stressed or strained muscle, or a recurrent injury from your daily activities or sports. These stressed bands of muscles are creating pain with movement, to touch, or even referral pain. For example, a few common areas of pain treated with dry needling is Tennis Elbow, Sciatica, Neck/Should Pain and Piriformis syndrome. I see many more, but these are common areas.
Is functional dry needling the same thing as acupuncture?
The only similarity between Dry Needling and Acupuncture is the type of needle used. Dr. Baker will examine and assess your neuromuscular system in office prior to deciding if Dry Needling will be successful. The actual needle insertion points are based on assessment and knowledge of neuroanatomy to neutralize hyper-irritable areas within the muscle. The goal of dry needling is to decrease your pain and restore function. It is relaxing and therapeutic procedure of osteopathic treatment, and is suitable for conditions such as back and neck pain, sporting injuries, and discomfort caused by poor posture.
What can a person expect to feel after a session of dry needling?
Some individuals do not actually feel the needle at all during the technique. If an active trigger point is treated, there may be a twitching sensation, a shooting sensation that mimics the actual pain referral pattern, a deep dull ache, or a slight sting or mild cramping sensation. Most people are surprised that the technique is really quite comfortable or at least very tolerable.
Afterwards, there may be an immediate reduction in pain symptoms, or a little muscle soreness that subsides with resumption of normal activity. We actually encourage our patients to immediately resume their normal activities to reduce the chance of soreness. The main thing we look for is an improvement in mobility, flexibility, and strength.
At Balanced Body, Dr. Baker wears gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when dry needling, consistent with Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings, and OSHA standards. The sterile needles are disposed of in a medical sharps collector.