This blog will be used to introduce new techniques being employed at this clinic, reviews of the latest research in physical therapy, topics to help you better understand what we can do for you and a myriad of ideas and insights that encompass the world of physical therapy.  Our goal is to inform our patients and the public about important topics that could impact their health and well being.  

 

The first topic we will cover is a new technique being employed at Moreland Physical Therapy called Dry Needling.  In the context of this clinic, we use dry needling to treat trigger points found in muscles.  So why is that important?  Trigger points are areas of congestion and tightness in muscles that can cause pain in the muscle itself and refer pain to other areas of the body as well.  If trigger points are not treated effectively it can slow the healing process and recovery time from both acute injuries and chronic pain problems.  

 

 

Dry needling is different then acupuncture as it is based on the Western medical model and not Chinese Medicine model.  We do not use any medication (hence the term "dry" incorporated into the title) so it will be different then trigger point injections you may get from a physician, although the effect may be similar.   

Our ultimate goal with dry needling is to return the muscle to a normal, healthy state and in so doing help return to the body to normal, healthy function.  When muscles are tight or inhibited it can cause imbalances which will then cause dysfunctional movement.  This dysfunctional movement can then lead to overuse injuries, worsening of joint pain, neck and back pain, as well as increased risk for injury.

 

Research has shown that by inserting a needle into the trigger point you can actually change the neurophysiology of the muscle.  JOSPT (Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy) recently published a research article on the effectiveness of dry needling on relieving shoulder/head/neck pain. (JOSPT Sept 2013).  In addition they provided a short summary of dry needling for the general population.

 

Of course dry needling and release of trigger points is only one piece of the puzzle to return to a normal functioning life.  The other pieces include maximizing tissue function, retraining the body to move normally, postural changes and decrease stress on the tissue so that the problem does not return.  

 

This treatment has been established for several years in other states but was only recently been incorporated into physical therapy practice here in Nevada (March 2012).  There are only a handful of practitioners in the area that employ this new technique but interest is growing.  If you would like to see if Dry needling will work for you, please contact our office.