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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lynch, Owner, PT, CODN, CCTT

Dry Needling Explained

Over the past few years, dry needling has become a frequently discussed topic among my patients, and a suggested treatment option by many referring providers. I personally have been practicing dry needling for over 5 years on a substantial number of my patients with very positive results. This technique is not directly taught in physical therapy school and requires advanced training and certification. I received my training directly under Jan Dommerholt, who is widely regarded as the “Godfather of Dry Needling,” and literally wrote the book on this subject. Physical therapists’ ability to perform dry needling varies state to state, with Maryland having the most stringent requirements of any state that allows the technique. Acupuncturist boards often oppose dry needling, which they see as an invasion of their “turf.” The process and rationale of dry needling and acupuncture differ greatly and contemporary research strongly supports the use of dry needling for the reduction of muscle dysfunction.

The best analogy I have heard to explain dry needling compares normal muscle fibers to that of a box of uncooked spaghetti. All the fibers (noodles) are typically lined up uniformly and symmetrically. A muscle knot is then like a bowl of cooked spaghetti, with no discernible pattern or shape. By touching these abnormal strands or muscle fibers with a dry needle, the adhesion is disturbed and the body is stimulated to begin healing. Cellular waste is flushed from the area and the tissue begins the remodeling process to resemble the normal, adjacent fibers: straight and aligned.

What is Dry Needling?

The providers at Lynch Physical Therapy use dry needling frequently, but do not solely rely on the technique to address all soft tissue dysfunction. We continue to utilize myofascial release techniques and soft tissue mobilization on a daily basis to aid in rehabilitation. Dry needling is a covered benefit under medical insurance, and the associated risks are generally minor. Our therapists review all precautions with patients prior to dry needling, which mainly involves the potential for soreness and bruising. Additional information can be found on our website at | Lynch Physical Therapy | .

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