Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a modality utilized to address soft tissue dysfunction.  Through the use of filiform needles we can stimulate the soft tissue of the body.  Dry needling allows us to stimulate the internal environment of the soft tissue.  Stimulating the soft tissue in this manner causes a microscopic lesion in the soft tissue that stimulates the body to initiate a reparative response (self healing).

In other words

Dry needling stimulates the target site of the body.  In a response to dry needling you body mounts a response that sparks healing.  We are able to get your body to respond and improve the state of the tissue being dry needled.  We utilize your bodies natural healing potential to improve the state of your injury.  There is a also the added benefit of some pain relief in the area.  Below you will find some more information on the specific processes that dry needling triggers if you are interested.  If you are ready to start dry needling stop here and give us a call.

The Science

The self healing process is a complex process of events your body uses to build healthy tissue in response to exercise as well as repair soft tissue that is less than optimal.  Below are a few of the responses the body mounts in response to stimulating the soft tissues of the body with filiform needles.

Dry Needling stimulates the body to produce a functioning microcirculatory system.  At the local level (within the muscle)  Adenosine and Nitric Oxide are released in response to dry needling.  Adenosine and Nitric Oxide are local vasodilators that improve circulation to the soft tissue.  This increase in blood flow carries more nutrient rich blood to the soft tissue to improve the potential of repair.  Calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) is a local anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive (pain killer) that is also released by the body in response to dry needling.   The self healing potential of the body is further facilitated by decreasing the inflammation in the soft tissue.

Dry needling also triggers a response in the central nervous system (the brain/spinal cord) that causes a cascade of events to promote self healing.  Enkephalin is an anti-nociceptive (pain killer) that is released in the the dorsal horn (a section of the spinal cord) in response to dry needling.  This alters the pain signal to the brain and can significantly reduce the pain signal being generated by soft tissue dysfunction.  You don’t have to be in pain to feel better as a result of dry needling either.  Beta-Endorphin is an endogenous opioid neuropeptide found in the neurons of both the central and peripheral nervous system.  This is basically a “feel good” peptide released by your nervous system that can also be taken advantage of to promote a quicker recovery.

One Added Benefit

One added benefit of dry needling is that it does not interfere with the ongoing reparative pathophysiological process already taking place in the body.  It is simply a way to promote improved health by stimulating the body to use what is already available.  Its important to note that while these are factors are available, they are not always functioning properly and need a catalyst to initiate the process.

As with all physical therapy techniques there are some associated precautions and contraindications for dry needling.  Common precautions include but are not limited to: the use of blood thinners, cancer in other areas, and diabetes.  Contraindications to dry needling include but are not limited to: blood born pathogens (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS), pregnancy, the area where active skin lesions are present, blood diseases (hemophilia, anemia) and cancer in the area or areas of metastasis.

The American Physical Therapy Association’s Views on Dry Needling.

Foundation Physical Therapy’ s Dry Needling Contraindications/Consent Form

If a patient is already being seen by one of our physical therapists under a prescription from their doctor then there will be a $20 additional charge for dry needling if the patient wishes to have this done. Currently health insurance does not pay for dry needling.

Dry Needle Aftercare Instructions

If you do not have pain and/or pathology but wishes to come in for dry needling only then please see our Foundation Human Performance Institute page for prices and scheduling.