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person getting dry needling done on thie back

Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a specific treatment technique that uses a solid filament needle to treat muscle trigger points which are creating pain and discomfort. A muscle trigger point is a highly localized, hyper-irritable spot in a palpable, taut band of skeletal muscle fibers. These muscle trigger points - which are located throughout the human body - play a role in producing and sustaining feelings of pain and discomfort. Trigger points develop in muscle for various reasons including referred or local pain, inflammation, tissue injury, overuse/repetitive strain, or other causes. Studies from the United States have shown that trigger points were the primary source of pain in as many as 85% of pain-related appointments with a primary care doctor.

How Dry Needling works

The mechanical stimulation of the muscle produces a local twitch or rapid depolarization of muscle fibers. After this process the muscle activity dramatically reduces resulting in relaxation and decrease in pain and dysfunction. This decrease in pain is related to the removal of muscular compression on joint, nerve and vascular tissue. Occasionally, insertion of the needle will also reproduce “referred pain” symptoms. This is often a positive sign confirming the trigger point as being the cause of the pain. It is theorized that Dry Needling also stimulates release of endogenous opioids, and initiates a “new healing process”.

dry needline session enable physiotherapy

Dry Needling is used as a part of an overall care plan

Dry Needling physical therapy will not replace the hands-on approach to physical therapy but will be an adjunct to our current level of care. It is another very specific tool to help reduce patients’ pain which will then allow the patients to tolerate their exercises much better. Successful Dry Needling must be administered by a skilled manual therapist, with advanced training in anatomy and musculoskeletal function and dysfunction. 


Does Dry Needling hurt?

Typically, patients will feel some level of discomfort, but it is short-lived. If one does not feel the treatment at all, it is not yet working.

Is Dry Needling safe?

We go to great lengths to ensure safety. Our therapists have all passed the necessary exams, and have an exhaustive understanding of anatomy. We use personal protective equipment, the highest grade sterile/disposable comfortable needles, and adhere to the highest safety standards.

How is Dry Needling different from Acupuncture?

Dry Needling is based on traditional, studied and tested practices of Western Medicine to restore normal muscle function. Traditional acupuncture practitioners’ follow Eastern Medicine’s key principle of holistic treatment, and base their practice on “normalizing the energy imbalance,” or Chi, in the body to cure syndromes. Our therapists use Dry Needling within medically-proven and measurable parameters, in accordance with our advanced training in musculoskeletal function. Our therapists have successfully passed exams, and have a thorough knowledge of a patient’s condition based on in-depth and ongoing assessments and treatment.

How will I feel after having treatment done?

There may be some soreness immediately after treatment in the area of the body that was Dry Needled. This is normal, although does not always occur. Occasionally, soreness develops a few hours later, or even the next day. The soreness may vary depending on the area of the body that was treated, and also varies person-to-person, but typically it feels like you have had an intense workout at the gym. Occasionally patients will experience some bruising with this soreness. A patient may also feel tired, nauseous, emotional,  and/or somewhat “out of it” after treatment. This is a normal response that only lasts an hour or two after treatment.

How many sessions of Dry Needling will I need?

Results’ Dry Needling patients average 2-3 sessions, and will not use more than 5-6 except in rare circumstances. Often, we will use Dry Needling once a week but may adjust as needed.

How much does Dry Needling cost?

There is an additional charge per Dry Needling session in addition to the cost of the appointment. Please enquire for current rates.

Will Dry Needling be done at my first appointment?

We do not typically use Dry Needling at a patient’s first appointment unless they fit a classic “trigger point” presentation. We may introduce a patient to Dry Needling at an initial appointment, educating on the procedure, benefits, risks and side effects; and then use the procedure on subsequent visits.

Can I come in just for a Dry Needling appointment?

We recommend Dry Needling as a part of a comprehensive physical therapy treatment program. We may accommodate people who have had previous Dry Needling and are familiar with the procedure.

A registered physical therapist is always part of your care team, providing experience, knowledge and hands on treatment. This personalized approach ensures your care plan progresses with you, so every visit builds on the last and you get better faster.

Contact Enable Physiotherapy today for more information or to request an appointment!
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