Functional Dry Needling

June 24th, 2013

Are you sick and tired of nagging muscle aches and pains? A new service offered here at Assurance Chiropractic may be the answer you are looking for.

Functional Dry Needling (FDN) is a fantastic tool for the treatment of a wide variety of soft tissues including (but not limited to) myofascial trigger points (those annoying “knots” that we get in our muscles), spasms/cramps, strains and more! The treatment involves the insertion of a very thin needle into sore, tight, and dysfunctional muscles to directly treat any trigger points that may be in the muscle and to neurologically “reset” any muscles that are misbehaving.

While dry needling has been around for quite some time, FDN is a relatively new and unique concept that utilizes pre and post treatment functional assessments. These assessments help not only to identify your problem and any physical limitations it may cause you, but can help identify any contributing factors that may have led to your pain or are preventing you from healing completely.

After the muscles that need treatment are identified a thin needle will be tapped into the muscle and “pistoned” in order to make the muscle twitch, which is a sign that the muscle has responded to the treatment. Patient’s discomfort levels during the treatment vary widely, but the most common sensation is a dull, aching sensation or slight cramping of the muscle being treated. After treatment has been rendered, any of the tests that were found to be abnormal prior to treatment will be re-checked for improvement.

Post treatment results can be pretty astounding, with some of the more immediate effects being vast improvements in range of motion and muscle activation as well as decreases in overall pain levels. It is understandable though, that even with all these benefits, people still have a lot of questions about FDN and how it can help them, so I will answer a few of the more frequently asked ones:

Will FDN hurt?

As I discussed briefly above, the pain response to the treatment is widely variable depending on a number of factors. People commonly report no sensation with needle insertion and really cannot tell if the treatment has even begun until the needle hits a spot in the muscle that is injured or dysfunctional. At that point, most people describe the sensation as an aching “charlie-horse” type pain that tends to decrease in intensity fairly quickly. Typically there will be some post treatment soreness that is usually much less intense than the pain the person is seeking care for, and it tends to last only a few hours to a day or so.

How big are these needles?

The needles used for FDN are the same as an acupuncture needle, and are extremely thin. Think much thinner than mechanical pencil led thin. They vary in length based on the depth and thickness of the muscle that needs to be treated. Most commonly I use needles that are about the length, or shorter than most people’s pinky fingers

How many treatments will I need?

In my experience, most people respond really well to FDN in a short amount of time and typically need between 2-4 treatments for any given issue.

Do I still need to be adjusted if I get FDN?

Short answer, yes. Muscles and joints have a symbiotic relationship with one another to the extent that if one or the other, or both are dysfunctional, then there are going to be problems. FDN is great at treating the musclar component of your condition, but careful assesment and manipulation of the joints associated with that muscle can be the missing link between chasing symptoms and getting to the root of your pain. Chiropractic and dry needling go together like peas and carrots!

If you have any other questions about dry needling or any of our other chiropractic services, please feel free to contact me. If you have been suffering from a nagging injury or chronic pain that has not responded well to other treatments I would highly recommend that you set up an appointment with us or find another FDN practitioner in your area and give it a try!

You can watch this short video to learn even more about FDN from the company I received my training from here and also utilize theirĀ practitioner locator page to find someone near you.