As part of the Integrative Medicine Program here at East Jefferson General Hospital, Physical Therapist Randy Lee, PT, DPT, Cert. D.N., now provides one of the latest practices offered to our patients, dry needling.
Dry Needling, quite simply, is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves the advances of a needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a trigger point.
The process uses a small, solid needle which is inserted into a contracted painful knotted muscle to create a local twitch reflex, which helps relieve a patient’s pain. This is the first step in breaking the pain cycle as research shows this process will decrease muscle contraction, reduce chemical irritation, improve flexibility and decrease pain.
Dry Needling has been shown to benefit those with a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems including acute and chronic injuries, headaches, neck and back pain, tendinitis, muscle spasms, “sciatica”, hip and knee pain, muscle strains, fibromyalgia, “tennis and golfer’s elbow”, overuse injuries, etc.
The process can be done in a Physical Therapists’ office and usually takes around 15-20 minutes with most patients seeing positive results in two to three sessions. A follow up with a Physical Therapists’ treatment is often recommended as well to maximize results.
While similar, dry needling differs from acupuncture in that it goes deeper into the muscle rather than just superficially through the skin and provides healing on a deeper level than can be provided by an acupuncturist.
The most common side effects include mild muscle soreness, similar to a workout, or skin bruising.
Dry Needling is accepted by Medicare and most insurance companies.