What is dry needling?

Dry needling, or intramuscular therapy, is a technique designed to help treat musculoskeletal or myofascial pain. It involves inserting a small needle into specific areas called ‘trigger points.’ These ‘trigger points’ are tender, irritable spots in fascia and muscles, and palpable nodules in taut bands of tissue. The results are often immediate and noticeable improvements in both pain, range of motion, and you ability to move.

Is dry needling different from acupuncture?

Yes. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is uses “meridians” to guide treatment while Dry Needling, or intramuscular therapy, uses trigger points to guide treatment. Those palpable spots are not associated with organ systems or ‘chi.’ The work of Travell and Simons was instrumental in finding these trigger points and have been verified in research.

How can dry needling benefit you?

Whether you strained your back working in the yard or hurt your knee on your most recent run, dry needling can be a huge help to get you back to everyday activities. The muscles in your body back will be able to finally relax following needling and your sleep could improve. Muscle spasms and inflammation can happen anywhere in the body with injury. What if that spasm could be relieved in just a few sessions? Don’t wait for the pain to become worse before you do something about it.

What should I expect during the session with dry needling?

Each session of dry needling will begin with mapping the body of active trigger points in the body. This may include previous points found in earlier sessions and new points that show up during the current session. We ask that you wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing so we can access all the areas we need to during our session of intramuscular therapy.

Each needle is pre-packaged in a sterilized tube that is used only once for each area and the skin is prepped with an alcohol rub. Once the trigger point is found the needle is inserted into the muscles where the trigger point is. A local twitch response in not uncommon which is brief. There may be some discomfort with the insertion of the needle, but most needle insertions are painless for most people.

Your feedback will be critical to help guide our treatment to ensure the most effective treatment. At the end of treatment we will re-evaluate the previous motions that were painful prior to treatment. We often find a very noticeable change in range of motion and pain levels.

Is there any reason I shouldn’t do dry needling?

There are certain cases where dry needling is not advised: If you are pregnant, have a phobia of needles, consistently low blood pressure (110/60), or currently taking anticoagulants, you should not receive dry needling. If you have any other concerns about dry needling, please contact us and we can discuss it in further detail. (703)-368-7343

How many sessions will it take before I notice a change?

As stated above, improvements in pain and your ability to perform your sport/exercise can often occur from the very first treatment. However, for some people it can take 3-4 sessions before we notice a major change in symptoms.

The more acute an injury the quicker we typically notice a change. The more chronic the conditions obviously takes longer. In our experience 90% of patients get some relief with trigger point dry needling.

Don’t let that nagging pain keep you from exercising, performing at work, and getting the best sleep possible.