Kick chronic back pain to the curb with dry needling

col-JillPhelanChronic back pain? Sciatica? Knee Arthritis? Plantar Fasciitis? Do any of these diagnoses sound like something you or a loved one have been dealing with and you can’t seem to find a remedy? You don’t want or are not a candidate for sugery, you are tired of taking anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers, exercise may or may not have helped and you just want to get back to doing life’s simple tasks. You may be a good candidate for utilizing dry needling as part of your individualized physical therapy treatment plan at one of our 6 area locations, including our brand new office in Little River!

The first question we usually get when we mention dry needling in our physical therapy clinics is: what is it? Dry needling is the use of very fine (significantly smaller than the needles your physician uses for injections or your annual flu shot) filament needles that are inserted into symptomatic areas in taut bands of muscle (i.e. trigger points), tendons, ligaments, musculotendinous and teno-osseous junctions, and bone. When someone experiences a injury, the internal rehabilitation begins with inflammation and ends with remodeling of the soft tissue. It is during that cycle where swelling, tissue contracture, scarring, and decreased flow of nutrients in the area can result in palpable tenderness, long term pain and radiating symptoms can occur. The needles create tiny lesions in the tissue in order to jump start your body’s natural process of healing, by releasing molecular components and stimulating your nervous system. This culminates in a anti-inflammatory reaction and decreased levels of perceived pain at the source of problem as well as the surrounding tissues that pain may have referred to.

This question is usually followed up by:  Is it the same as acupuncture? The answer is no. While we do use the same needles, the concept, approach, technique and clinical application are very different. Dry needling is based on the physical therapist’s vast understanding of human anatomy and physiology as well as the mechanisms and structures involved in various neuromusculoskeletal diagnoses and dysfunctions. This means the application and use of the needles is geared to known areas of involvement, such as the meeting of a tendon approaching a bone. Acupuncture is a field based on whole body systems and the flow of energy along specific meridians or channels with it’s foundations in ancient Chinese medicine.

Dry Needling has been reinforced by a growing number of studies and medical research.  Brain imaging in patients has shown increased stimulation of the brains descending inhibitory systems in charge of pain regulation (less perceived discomfort!) as well as decreasing involvement of areas of the brain associated with emotions involved with pain such as anxiety and depression. Various studies have also found decreased rates of disability due following dry needling in numerous diagnostic groups. Other pros of dry needling include: no side effects in regards to medication, no invasive surgery, and symptoms can be improved in as quickly as one session!

Dry needling is another tool in our tool box as licensed physical therapists to help a mutlitude of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions that people suffer with daily and it may be appropriate for you or someone you known in conjunction with our therapist’s knowledge of therapeutic exercise, manual soft tissue/joint mobility techniques and other pain management approaches.

So if you or someone you know would like to know more about physical therapy options, such as dry needling, for a variety of conditions, seek the consultation of a physical therapist at one of our six locations (all of which offer dry needling) or see your physician for a referral to one of our facilities. Our newest location in Little River, is now accepting patients! For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Richard A. Owens, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. SHT, CWcHP, Cert DN (Surfside) (843) 831-0163, Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP, Cert. DN (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, Jared Bridges, DPT (Little River) (843) 281-4222 and (Murrells Inlet) (843) 314-3224, Jill Phelan, DPT, Cert. DN (Conway) (843) 733-3031 and (Murrells Inlet) or Brian P. Kinmartin, PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, STC, CWcHP, Cert. DN (Pawley’s Island) (843) 235-0200 or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com where you can learn more about the company and even download a referral form for your physician to fill out. You can also call and schedule a free 15-minute consultation.

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