What is functional dry needling?

Functional dry needling is a skilled intervention that uses a thin, filiform (non-hollow core) needle to release trigger points, re-educate muscle and improve movement.  This results in decreased pain, improved muscle activation and decreased movement impairments.

Is it acupuncture?

The main similarity between acupuncture and functional dry needling is the type of needles used; otherwise they differ in intention, technique and follow-up procedures.  Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that aims to restore the flow of energy, or chi, through the body. Functional dry needling is based on the treatment of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular deficits identified during a physical therapy evaluation to improve movement, pain and strength. In functional dry needling the needles are inserted into muscle tissue rather than the superficial insertion used in acupuncture.

Is it safe?

The procedure of functional dry needling is very safe and includes the use of sterile, single use needles, sanitized skin and gloves to protect both the patient and the therapist. Your physical therapist will review with you the precautions and risks of functional dry needling prior to the start of care.

Who can benefit from dry needling?

Your physical therapist will review your current and past medical conditions and determine if functional dry needling can safely be performed on a per-patient basis.  It can be used to treat a variety of myofascial pain conditions.

Common conditions treated:

Back pain

Neck pain

Patellofemoral syndrome (knee pain)

Chronic pain

Athletic over-use injuries

Muscle strains

Are there any negative side effects?

The negative side effects that a person may experience is muscular soreness, similar to after exercise. Occasionally people may have bruising associated with the insertion site of the needle.

How is it used as part of physical therapy treatment?

The Nevada Physical Therapy Board has determined that dry needling is within the scope of a licensed physical therapist’s practice in the state of Nevada. Based on the exam and evaluation conducted by your physical therapist, they may decide you could benefit from FDN. It is used in conjunction with other treatments such as manual therapy for joint and muscle mobility and neuromuscular re-education for precise retraining of dysfunctional muscle and movement patterns.

Ask us a Question

Feel free to ask any physical therapy related questions over the phone, or get send your question via this form below. Your message will be dispatched directly to our staff who will answer as soon as they can.