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How Does Dry Needling Help?

Dry Needling is a technique that reduces pain and dysfunction and stimulates the healing process. This treatment involves microfilament needles in the affected tissue. It is a direct approach to handling your pain and dysfunction. This process typically lasts between 10-30 minutes.
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Dry needling has been shown to reduce pain and disability by the following:

Local Mechanical Affects:

  1. Winding, tenting or needle grasp to deform and disrupt fibroblasts pithing the neighboring collagen tissue. This results in increased opioid-mediated response. 
  2. Local Twitch Response, which decreases muscle contraction and improves range of motion. This mobilizes collagen restrictions within the muscle and fascia. 

Neurophysiological Effects:

  1. Increase pain pressure thresholds
  2. Stimulation and decreased inhibition of descending sensory pain pathways
  3. Activation of central-mediated systems. Activation of areas in the brain involved in pain processing and the emotion of pain.

Chemical/Cellular Effects:

  1. Improves blood flow to nerves and tissues due to a decrease in vascular compression.
  2. Inflammatory and immune systems responses are initiated. 

Electrophysiological Effects:

Decreased Spontaneous electrical activity at the active trigger point and improved neuromuscular activation/timing. Needles are placed in other tissues, including tendons, ligaments, scar tissue, or near nerves. Depending on the patient’s pathology, the aim of Dry Needling may be different. However, the numerous effects of dry needling help a wide variety of conditions.

Please Note:

Not all dry needling is equal. There are different types of dry needling. Some physical therapists utilize trigger point needling, which pistons the needle into and out of the tissue. We use dry needling with electric (EDN), where the needle goes into the tissue, wraps the tissue around the needling, and uses current to stimulate the tissue. We believe this makes dry needling not only more comfortable but more effective. 

The other difference is the degree of training the therapists have. Some take weekend courses, while others go through a rigorous program to understand the ins and outs of dry needling. Please do your homework and select a doctor with the skill level and experience to perform dry needling safely and get the BEST results.

If you think you have may benefit from dry needling and would like to work with a skilled physical therapist, please click the link below.


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Dr. Tyler is a physical therapist and founder Scottsdale Physical Therapy & Performance in North Scottsdale, Arizona. He see golfers, MMA athletes and active adults. His focus is offering one-on-one sessions for 1 hour focused on developing individualized programs to get you back to your goals.

If you have any questions about online programing or want to stop in for a visit, please reach out by hitting “request appointment” in the top of the page.

– Dr. Tyler PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, TPI-2

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