Spencer Hospital Physical Therapists Now Certified in a New Treatment Called "Dry Needling"

posted by Jordan Reed on Monday, December 16, 2019

Getting to the point: What you should know about dry needling.

Spencer Hospital Physical Therapists are consistently working to improve their clinical knowledge and skills to provide better results for our patients. Recently, this lead Spencer Hospital PT’s to take part in an intensive dry needling (DN) course. Dry needling has been effectively used by PT’s throughout the world, but it is a relatively new treatment in Northwest Iowa. So, what is dry needling and how can it help you?

What is dry needling?

Dry needling involves placing a needle into a muscle that is tight or tender. The needles used for DN are much different than those used for injections or blood draws as they are solid rather than hollow, have a round point compared to a cutting point, and are very thin. The intent of inserting this needle into a muscle is to cause a twitch response, which is movement within the muscle that you do not control. This twitch response leads to improved nerve function, increased blood flow, and helps to resolve any tightness, tenderness, or pain you may have been feeling before the technique was performed.

Is dry needling acupuncture?

Dry needling is not acupuncture. Traditional acupuncture involves using a needle to balance energy within the body. Dry needling is based on taking your history, performing a thorough examination, and then inserting needles into muscles based on that information and the Physical Therapist’s knowledge of nerve and muscle anatomy. A physical therapist who performs DN will then assess the impact of the technique on your symptoms and overall function.

What does dry needling treat?

Dry needling can be used to address and treat any condition which is caused or made worse by restrictions in muscles or soft tissues. These can include neck pain, low back pain, headaches, sciatica, muscle strains, joint pain, overuse injuries like tendonitis, and chronic pain and fibromyalgia.

What does DN feel like?

Since DN uses solid needles with rounded tips that are thin, they oftentimes move through the skin and muscles with little to no feeling. As the needle contacts a trigger point, people may describe a cramping sensation followed by a twitch response, which is the involuntary contraction that produces changes within the muscle. The needle is then removed and many people feel immediate partial or complete resolution of their symptoms. Soreness is common following dry needling. This is usually described as the type of soreness you would feel after lifting weights or performing an activity you haven’t done in a while. Drinking plenty of water, staying active, and using ice or heat typically resolves any soreness from DN within 24 hours.

Spencer Hospital is pleased to have the area’s only practice where every Physical Therapist is certified in dry needling. We are able to offer this treatment at each of our locations at Spencer Hospital, Rehab@theClinic in the Spencer Medical Arts Building, Milford Family Care, and Sioux Rapids Family Care. To find out if this treatment is right for you, please contact Spencer Hospital Rehabilitation Services at 712-264-6189.

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About The Author

Jordan Reed

Jordan serves as the Director of Rehabilitation Services and Laboratory at Spencer Hospital. He graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Des Moines University and has been with Spencer Hospital since 2011.