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DRY NEEDLING / TRIGGER POINT THERAPY

Dry Needling / Trigger Point Therapy is a specific treatment technique that uses a solid filament needle to treat muscle trigger points.  This treatment targets muscle tissue in an effort to reduce pain, release trigger points, and restore function.  At River Valley Physical Therapy, we offer this procedure as part of an overall care plan.  It is a natural extension to a patient's treatment plan, but is not intended to replace traditional hands-on physical therapy. 

HOW DOES DRY NEEDLING WORK?

Dry Needling / Trigger Point Therapy is the insertion of sterile single use acupuncture needles directly into myofascial (muscular) trigger points.  Trigger points are composed of multiple tight contraction knots within the muscle which cause and contribute to pain within the body.  Research studies have shown that inserting such needles into trigger points causes biochemical changes within the body, which help reduce pain.  It is essential to elicit local "twitch" responses within the muscle, which are the first step to breaking the pain cycle and releasing tight trigger points within muscles.  Studies have alson shown that Dry Needling is most effective when combined with Manual Therapy and Therapeutic Exercises.  

IS DRY NEEDLING THE SAME AS ACUPUNCTURE?

Although Dry Needling uses the same needles as acupuncture, it is not the same technique.  Dry Needling is strictly based upon Western medicine principles of treating myofascial trigger points, which are different than traditional acupuncture points.  Physical Therapists using Dry Needling techniques at River Valley Physical Therapy have all undergone specific training, and it is recognized within the scope of Physical Therapy in the State of Illinois. 

IS DRY NEEDLING PAINFUL?

The initial insertion of the needle does not usually cause any discomfort.  The local twitch response can cause a brief painful reaction - some patients describe this as an electrick shock or a cramping sensation.  It is important to remember that the therapeutic effect only occurs by eliciting the twitch response and, therefore, it is the desirable reaction.

THOUGH DRY NEEDLING DOES NOT REPLACE THE HANDS ON APPROACH TO PHYSICAL THERAPY, IT HAS BEEN SHOWN TO REDUCE PATIENT'S PAIN WHICH THEN ALLOWS THEM TO BETTER TOLERATE AND PERFORM THEIR PHYSICAL THERAPY EXERCISES.