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Understanding the Benefits of Functional Dry Needling in PT

As Physical Therapists, we understand the range of discomfort and pain that can affect our daily lives. That’s why we are always on the lookout for innovative approaches to alleviate these discomforts. One such approach gaining popularity is functional dry needling. It is a technique that helps relieve pain, improve function, decrease muscle tone, and increase range of motion by targeting deep muscle tissues. In this blog post, we will explain what functional dry needling is, who can benefit from the treatment, and how it works.

What Is Functional Dry Needling?

Functional dry needling is a physical therapy technique used to treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. It involves the insertion of thin (small gauge) needles into trigger points located within muscles, which can cause referred pain, tension, and weakness. The needles are inserted into the tissues, causing a twitch response that releases muscle tension and improves blood flow and oxygen to the targeted area. In addition, we can use electrical stimulation to the needles to return the muscles to their resting tone and retrain the muscles how to effectively contract.

Who Will Benefit from Dry Needling?

Functional dry needling targets any condition or injury that causes pain, discomfort, or decreases mobility caused by muscle tension or muscular imbalances. It can be effective for many conditions such as neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and many others. Patients who suffer from chronic pain or movement restrictions from sports and exercise may also benefit from dry needling.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

Dry needling works by triggering the body’s natural healing response through the release of tension and tightness in the muscles. The technique works by targeting trigger points, which are tender points within the muscles that can create referred pain in other parts of the body. Inserting the needles into these points can help deactivate them, helping to improve the range of motion and decreasing pain in the targeted area.

The technique also helps to increase blood flow, allowing the body to deliver vital nutrients and oxygen to the area, promoting faster healing. Dry needling can be performed on a specific muscle, a group of muscles, or an entire muscle system, depending on the condition and patient needs. In addition to improving muscle trigger points and blood flow, in those who may be more highly trained in dry needling, physical therapists can also target muscles near the spine to decrease some of these referred-type pains coming from the neck and low back. In these cases, we may be able to improve upon the true cause instead of what we sometimes call, “Chasing the symptoms.”

Dry Needling and Physical Therapy

Dry needling is another tool that physical therapists can use to help treat the true cause of pain, and create a healing environment for the body. It can help to decrease pain, increase range of motion, and improve overall function. Dry needling can also be used in conjunction with exercise and other physical therapy modalities to enhance treatment outcomes.

Functional dry needling is an innovative technique that can help relieve pain and improve movement and function. It is a safe and effective treatment approach that can be used in conjunction with other physical therapy modalities. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, a physical therapist can help determine if dry needling is right for you. Don’t let muscle pain restrict your movement and function, consult with your physical therapist to see if dry needling is an appropriate treatment for you.

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