Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling (DN)?

DN is the use of solid filament needles inserted through the skin and into the muscle to release painful myofascial trigger points. Dry needling results in the deepest tissue release allowing for improvements in movement and pain. It is called “Dry” Needling because there is no solution injected as with a hypodermic needle during a flu shot. With Dry Needling, the needle itself and the effects it produces within the tissue is the treatment.


When an injury occurs from repetitive use or acute trauma, inflammation will be produced from the damaged tissues. The damaged tissues will also go into a protective tension state or contracture to guard against further damage from utilizing the injured tissue. This contracture and inflammation inhibit microcirculation which limits both the oxygen rich blood reaching the injury and the waste products leaving the injury. The injury site becomes hypoxic (decreased in oxygen) which stimulates the body to produce fibroblasts, a cell that produces fibrosis or scar tissue. This fibrosis and scarring builds up around the muscles and tissues limiting the tissues ability to fully function (lengthen/shorten) and can also cause compression and irritation of nerves (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) – all of which inevitably lead to biomechanical disturbances in gait and function.


DN uses a small, solid filament needle which is inserted in a contracted painful knotted muscle to create a local twitch reflex which is both diagnostic and therapeutic as it is the first step in breaking the pain cycle as research shows will decrease muscle contraction, reduce chemical irritation, improve flexibility and decrease pain. When a needle is inserted into muscle it will also produce a controlled lesion and will cut between three to fifteen thousand individual muscle fibers. The body considers the needle as a foreign invader and will activate the immune system as a response. The cut muscle fibers also produce an inflammatory reaction that your body will respond to not just locally but all over the body to reduce inflammation systemically.


Is Dry Needling the same as Acupuncture?


No.


Dry Needling is based on Western medical research and principles, including Myofascial Trigger Point Theory founded by Dr. Janet Travell  in the 1940's.  


Acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine that was founded thousands of years ago in the Eastern world. 


Dr. Kekki is certified in both Acupuncture and Dry Needling.  The main similarity is that the same sterile, disposable solid filament needles are used, however, Dr. Kekki more often selects Dry Needling as a modality to treatments because it complements her background of manual medicine.


What types of conditions can Dry Needling help with?


  • Neck/Back Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Tennis/Golfers Elbow
  • Headaches
  • Hip and Gluteal Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Achilles Tendonitis/Tendonosis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Sciatica
  • Muscular Strains/Ligament Sprains
  • Chronic Pain
  • Athletic Performance


Does Dry Needling hurt?


You may or may not feel the insertion of the needle. The specific needle manipulation is intended to produce a local twitch response that can elicit a very brief (less than a second) painful response some patients describe as a deep ache or cramping sensation.  Again, the therapeutic response occurs with the elicitation of the local twitch response and is a desirable reaction.


What can I do to prepare for my therapy?


Eat a light meal 1-2 hours prior to your visit and wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be rolled up or down to access your areas of concern with the greatest ease.


What can I expect after treatment?


We are looking to get improvements even from the first visit such as increased range of motion, ease of movement and decreased signs/symptoms.

Many patients report being sore after the treatment in both the area treated and the area of referred symptoms.  Typically this soreness lasts between a few hours and two days and there is occasional bruising.  Soreness may be alleviated by applying heat or ice to the area and performing specific stretches for the treated muscle.  It is important to drink a lot of water post-treatment to help flush out toxins that were released from the tissues from treatment.  This will also aide in soreness.

Dry Needling is effective in treating muscular tension and spasm that is present in many conditions.

Dry Needling is effective in treating muscular tension and spasm that is present in many conditions.