Dry Needling is a technique physical therapists use (where allowed by state law) for the treatment of pain and movement impairments. The technique uses a "dry" needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle. Other terms commonly used to describe dry needling, include trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy. Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles and supported by research 1.
A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.
Dry needling involves a thin filiform needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable. Physical therapists wear 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.
In cases when physical therapists use dry needling, it is typically 1 technique that's part of a larger treatment plan. Physical therapists use dry needling to release or inactivate trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. Preliminary research 2 supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. This can help speed up the patient's return to active rehabilitation. As part of their entry-level education, physical therapists are well educated in anatomy and therapeutic treatment of the body. Physical therapists who perform dry needling supplement that knowledge by obtaining specific postgraduate education and training. When contacting a physical therapist for dry needling treatment, be sure to ask about their particular experience and education.
Exercise and strength training can be a pivotal component to one's success in regards to fitness and wellness. Strength training may enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Building muscle also can contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.
However, pain can be a restricting factor when it comes to exercise. Pain is inversely related to function, activity tolerance, and the desire to want to exercise. If you have high levels of pain you don't want to do much or can't do much because of that pain. This is why we utilize manual therapy skills to reduce this pain so that we can transition to the strength training model. This includes functional mobility, resisted exercise, spinal stabilization and core strengthening exercises. Here at DO PT, we have brand new equipment that includes a squat rack, bench rack, pull-up bar, free weights, exercise ropes, and much more to give you the best experience to help you reach your fitness goal.
Joint mobilizations are an extremely important skill that is used by a skilled manual therapist that is aimed to improve range of motion and reduce overall pain. Anyone with joint stiffness or pain can benefit from joint mobilizations. There are different styles and techniques of mobilizations/HVLAT that can be utilized. At DO PT, Dr. Logan Distefano has multiple certifications in mobilizations/HVLATs through the Osteopractic diploma. Using these techniques, you can rest assure that your pain levels will truly subside so that you can transition to a higher level of function, and possibly transition to strength training in order to minimize the risk of your pain returning.
Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a skilled myofascial intervention used for soft-tissue treatment. It is based on the principles of James Cyriax cross-friction massage
It is applied using instruments that are usually made of stainless steel with beveled edges and contours that can conform to different body anatomical locations and allows for deeper penetration. It is used for the detection and treatment of soft tissue disorders.
A proposed description for IASTM is “a skilled intervention that includes the use of specialized tools to manipulate the skin, myofascia, muscles, and tendons by various direct compressive stroke techniques”.
Instruments effectively break down fascial restrictions and scar tissue. The ergonomic design of these instruments provides the clinician with the ability to locate restrictions and allows the clinician to treat the affected area with the appropriate amount of pressure.
The introduction of controlled microtrauma to affected soft tissue structure causes the stimulation of local inflammatory response. Microtrauma initiates reabsorption of inappropriate fibrosis or excessive scar tissue and facilitates a cascade of healing activities resulting in remodeling of affected soft tissue structures. Adhesions within the soft tissue which may have developed as a result of surgery, immobilization, repeated strain or other mechanisms, are broken down allowing full functional restoration to occur.
What is cupping?
Cupping uses negative pressure forces on suction cups to create lifting of the tissues. This creates space within the tissue layers for improved gliding and mobility.
We have many layers of tissue, including skin, fascia, muscle, etc., that should move fluidly but due to injury, inflammation, and simply over time the tissues can become thickened and less mobile.
Unlike other forms of manual therapy (massage, myofascial release, IASTM, joint mobilizations) that are compressive in nature, cupping and MFD are decompressive. Decompression helps release tight tissues, improve trigger points, improve blood flow and nutrient exchange, and create a change to the neuromuscular system which allows for temporary pain relief.