Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a treatment physical therapists use to release muscular trigger points and reduce pain emanating from them. Trigger points are often tender themselves, but they also refer pain to various parts of the body. For example, the sternocleidomastoid muscle in the neck may cause headache. Trigger points in the piriformis muscle in the buttock, may cause sciatic-like pain down the leg.

In dry needling, a specially-trained physical therapist inserts a small, thin, needle into the muscle being treated. If the muscle has minimal trigger points, this insertion typically causes minimal discomfort. With moderate to severe trigger points, patients may feel a sensation like a muscle cramp or quick twitch. This means the therapist has successfully targeted your trigger point. In the hours and days following treatment, you should notice a decrease in pain and muscle tension in the treated area.

Dry needling is effective as an element of treatment in acute or chronic sporting injuries, orthopedic impairments, spinal issues, and chronic pain conditions including:

  • Acute and chronic sporting injuries:
    • Muscular hematomas
    • Muscle tears
    • Compartment syndrome
    • Shin splints
    • Rotator cuff injuries
    • Tennis/golfers elbow
  • Spinal conditions:
    • Piriformis syndrome
    • Cervico-genic headaches
    • Sciatica
    • Hamstring issues
    • Chronic low back and neck pain
    • Osteoarthritis
  • Lower extremity conditions:
    • Patellar Femoral Syndrome
    • Patellar tendonitis
    • Hamstring Strain
    • Groin Strain
    • Shin-splints
    • Compartment Syndrome
    • Achilles tendonopathies
    • Plantar Fasciitis
    • ITB Syndrome
    • Trochanteric Bursitis
  • Upper extremity conditions:
    • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    • Tennis elbow
    • Golfers elbow
    • Impingement syndromes
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

If you are suffering from any of these conditions or have not had success with previous treatments for your pain, dry needling may be an option for you. Consult with your physician regarding a referral for physical therapy, including a specific referral for dry needling. Call us in Lorton at (703) 372-5716 or in Alexandria at (703) 924-2650 to schedule an evaluation.

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