A traveling physical therapist must stay abreast of any new techniques that could aid a patient's recovery. Dry needling is the latest method that may change how practitioners treat musculoskeletal conditions.
The Fort Leavenworth Lamp compares the treatment to acupuncture - therapists use needles to relieve pain in aching muscles and joints. The primary difference between dry needling and acupuncture is that the former only treats physical ailments while the latter focuses on distributing energy through the body. Captain Shaun O'Laughlin, who holds a physical therapy job at the Munson Army Health Center, told the news source that the technique is effective for healing conditions regardless of their causes.
"It's great for treating the trigger points," O'Laughlin said. "But what's causing the trigger points? It could be posture, diet, caffeine, or maybe it's trauma or even genetics."
WBTW 13, a CBS affiliate in South Carolina, pointed out that dry needling actually causes small amounts of damage to injured body parts. Therapists puncture tendons, muscles, ligaments or tissues to cause bleeding, which helps patients heal.
"You're causing bleeding within the tissue itself to get healthy blood flow in there to help remodel and repair the tissue," Rich DeFalco, a physical therapist, told WBTW 13.
As with most treatments, therapists have to be certified in dry needling before they can use the healing technique on patients. There are continuing education units (CEUs) that full-time therapists can take to learn about dry needling. The process is not easy - it took O'Laughlin two years to obtain his certification.
The extensive training is due to the potential dangers associated with dry needling. The needles can cause damage and inflict pain on patients. Therapists should exercise caution when treating clients with dry needles to ensure that the treatment is successful.