Do you have a pain in your neck? What about your shoulder, back, hip or leg?

Functional dry needling is a technique that can be used by physical therapists to influence your pain in a variety of different areas, including the neck, back or extremities. It can be used to treat active or latent trigger points, hyper-irritable spots, a taut band of skeletal muscle/fascia, or painful spots that produce characteristic pain, referred tenderness or motor dysfunction.  

Dry needling is an evidence-based therapy that has been shown to decrease spontaneous electrical activity in a dysfunctional muscle. It can produce biochemical changes in the muscle for the treatment of pain. It has been shown to decrease substances in the muscle that cause inflammation and increase vascularity. This allows the muscle to restore its length-tension relationship and allows the muscle to “reset” its normal function.

Dry needling has been commonly incorporated into treatment for numerous years by physical therapists across the nation and, due to recent state legislation, is becoming common practice in South Dakota.

Dry needling uses the same type of needle as acupuncture, but the evaluation and the placement of the needle differs. Physical therapists will evaluate the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems to determine the best treatment points possible. This is done by evaluating the location and behavior of the injury, identification of the pain pattern, typical pain provocation and assessment of tissue tension. The goal of the dry needling by a physical therapist is to restore function while decreasing pain.   

Appropriate after-care following dry needling includes drinking more fluids and completing normal routines and physical activity.  Ice or heat may also be utilized for comfort.

Physical therapists Amanda Adamson PT, DPT, OCS; Samantha Schnabel, PT, DPT, CSMT; and I have been licensed to complete dry needling as an additional tool in management of your pain. Please contact Avera Therapy on the Avera Fox Run Health Campus at (605) 260-0918 to learn more about this procedure and how it might help you!

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