Did you know both of Elite’s locations offer dry needling? In fact, over the past few years, it’s become one of our most requested services! Dry needling can be used as a complementary component to your existing physical therapy program or as a stand-alone treatment decreasing pain, improving range of motion, and promoting the healing process.
What Is Dry Needling Used For?
Dry needling can be used to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions, including but not limited to muscle strains, ligament sprains, joint pain, range of motion impairments, headaches, low back and neck pain and for recovery after sporting competitions or practices. Some proponents of dry needling use it to release “trigger points” in muscles. However, with an appropriately trained specialist and the right type of application, it can be utilized in a variety of people with and without pain related to trigger points. Dry needling uses fine filament needles inserted deep into muscles, joints, ligaments, fascia and other connective tissue to decrease pain, improve range of motion and expedite the healing process.
What’s the Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Acupuncture and dry needling are derived from different schools of thought, which makes the application of the needle and overall goal of treatment much different. Acupuncture is over 2000 years old and originated in Eastern medicine. It’s widely used to treat various ailments and pain such as: chemotherapy and postoperative nausea, dental pain, headaches, labor pain, respiratory disorders, fibromyalgia, GI disorders, anxiety, depression, and neurological disease. Acupuncturists focus on inserting the needles into meridians within the body to improve or clear up energy flow throughout different meridian lines. In contrast, dry needling uses the same needles with a different application process and is a component of Western medicine. The needles are usually inserted deeper into the muscle or connective tissue, with the goal of going through the entire tissue down to the osseous membrane to create small lesions within multiple layers of connective and soft tissue.
How Does Dry Needling Work?
Dry needling works by using the needles to create micro-lesions within a pathological tissue to stimulate a local inflammatory response, replace innate tissues, and stimulate nerve fibers responsible for our sensation. By stimulating a local inflammatory response, the body increases vasodilators to bring tissue healing proteins in the blood to a pathologic tissue. This decreases chronic inflammation as a result of vasoconstriction and tissue hypoxia. Not only do we get a local tissue response, but we also get a systemic response the longer we keep the needles in the body by interrupting the pain pathways leading to the spinal cord and brain. Lastly, because of the increased blood flow and inflammatory response that happens after a needle is inserted, we get an increase in satellite cells that differentiate themselves to replace the micro- lesions we created in the body part to promote new, healthy tissue growth.
Is Dry Needling Covered by My Insurance?
Unfortunately, dry needling is not currently covered by most insurance payers and is a cash-based service. Dry needling is currently offered for an additional $25 as part of a comprehensive PT session or $85 for a stand-alone service (40 minute session that may also include other
treatments, such as manual therapy, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, cupping, etc).