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Treating Myofascial Pain

In the United States, dry needling is a relatively new method for treating myofascial pain. Dry needling technique (DNT), also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS) uses very small diameter solid filament needles carefully inserted into trigger point areas of painful muscles and connective tissue fascia resulting in rapid and often long lasting pain relief.

 

 

Who performs dry needling?

In 2009, the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Examining Board approved dry needling as falling within the scope of practice of licensed physical therapists that have had organized training. The therapists at Keystone Physical Therapy were trained by Dr. Jan Dommerholt, a Dutch trained physical therapist and Dr. Robert Gerwin, a neurologist, through their Myopain Seminars. Both Dr. Dommerholt and Dr. Gerwin are experts in dry needling and myofascial pain. Their seminars are the most comprehensive and rigorous training for Dry Needling Certification. Our therapists trained for over 150 hours of practical instruction followed by a comprehensive written and practical exam. For more information on the Myopain Seminars click on the link: www.myopainseminars.com.

 

Where does dry needling fit in the entire rehabilitation program?

At Keystone Physical Therapy, dry needling is just one of the many treatment options we use to return you to your active lifestyle pain-free. Dry needling is an exciting new addition to our treatment services that has resulted in some rapid and lasting positive changes with patients as an extension of the manual treatment provided.

 

What is a myofascial trigger point?

A myofascial trigger point is an area of multiple contractions knots or taut bands palpated within muscles and surrounding fascia, which are involved in the development and continuance of the pain cycle. Trigger points cause local pain or refer pain to more distant locations. These taut bands restrict pain free mobility and limit muscle function as well as smooth coordinated movement.

 

What type of problems can be treated with dry needling?

Dry needling can be used to assist in treatment of multiple musculoskeletal diagnoses. Conditions include but are not limited to:

 

• back and neck pain

• pinched nerves

• herniated discs

• shoulder pain

• rotator cuff syndrome

• tennis elbow

• carpal tunnel

• golfers elbow

• headaches and migraines

• jaw pain

• sciatica

• quadriceps strains

• hamstring strains

• calf tightness and spasms

 

Some of the above problems may be more from joint issues than muscle, but surrounding muscles will be loaded with trigger points that are often causing or a result of the problem and contributing to pain and movement.

How does dry needling compare to acupuncture?

The only similarity to acupuncture is that both dry needling and acupuncture use the same tool, a small diameter, solid filament needle. Dry needling is based on Western medicine and extends from models of functional anatomy and soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release and trigger point therapy. Acupuncture stems from Oriental or Eastern medicine.

 

Is dry needling painful?

Most patients do not feel the insertion of the needle but do feel a local twitch response in the muscle. When the local twitch response is elicited, most patients experience a very brief (less than a second) painful response. Patients have described the twitch as a cramping sensation or a little electrical shock. Although the local twitch response can be uncomfortable, this is the desired reaction needed to interrupt the pain cycle.

 

Are the needles sterile?

Yes, we use only sterile, disposable needles.

 

What side effects can I expect after the treatment?

After the treatment, patients may experience muscle soreness over the treated area and into areas of referred symptoms. Soreness can last anywhere from a couple of hours to 48 hours.

 

What should I do after being dry needled?

To help combat the soreness that may be present after treatment, the patient may use ice or heat and perform gentle stretches. No change in activity is needed other than abstaining from an intense workout immediately following the needling. Light activity may actually help the soreness. Your therapist will give you more specific instructions.

 

Why is my doctor not familiar with dry needling?

In the United States, dry needling is a relatively new method for treating myofascial pain and not everyone is aware of this effective modality. Please refer your physician to www.myopainseminars.com for more information. Our therapists would be happy to discuss dry needling with your doctor.

 

Once I am feeling better, how often do I need to come back to maintain my progress?

The musculoskeletal system is under constant pressure from gravity, stress, work, etc. A regular exercise program combined with good posture and maintenance of core muscle strength can prevent many problems. If the pain comes back and trigger points become painful and dysfunctional, “tune-ups” are recommended to treat and prevent serious problems.

Dry Needling

By inserting a needle into trigger points, favorable biochemical and mechanical changes take place which aid in reducing pain.

• back and neck pain

• pinched nerves

• herniated discs

• shoulder pain

• rotator cuff syndrome

• tennis elbow

• carpal tunnel

• golfers elbow

• headaches and migraines

• jaw pain

• sciatica

• quadriceps strains