Integrative Dry Needling Therapy

Integrative Dry Needling Therapy (IDN) is a highly effective physical therapy treatment for the treatment of a multitude of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions, including trigger points caused by inflammation.  At Healthy Core, we practice a form of dry needling called Integrative Dry Needling or IDN.  IDN is based on the research and work of Dr. Yun-Tao Ma from the Integrative Dry Needling Institute.  It is not appropriate for all conditions or pathologies and the use of the technique will be at the discretion of your physical therapist.


How Does Dry Needling Work?

Trigger point dry needling is NOT acupuncture (traditional Chinese medicine which is based on meridians). IDN is founded on neuro-anatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. A very fine filament needle is inserted through the skin and into deeper tissues that are considered the generators of your pain. The proposed mechanism of action for Dry Needling is the creation of a micro lesion within the pathological tissue, breaking up shortened tissues, inhibiting muscle tension via a reflex arc from the nervous system to the tissue, inducing a mild inflammatory response and centrally mediating the pain. This mechanical and neuromuscular effect provides an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal which ultimately reduces pain. Click here to read our BLOG on how dry needling reduces inflammation.








What Conditions Can Be Treated?

Conditions include but are not limited to neck, back and shoulder pain, headache (migraines and tension-type), SI joint pain, buttock pain and leg pain (sciatica), groin strains, hamstring strains, tendinitis, plantar fascitis, calf tightness and spasms. Effectiveness of treatment is best before the injury, which makes it an excellent modality for injury prevention for runners and elite athletes who develop overuse syndromes. It is also excellent for lengthening muscles in pre-adolescents with growing pains and muscle tightness.


Are The Needles Sterile?

Yes. Sterile, disposable needles of various lengths are used. There is no solution injected, hence the name "dry" needling.


Is The Procedure Painful?

The fine filament is very thin, solid and flexible that allows for the needle to be pushed through the skin instead of cutting the skin. This helps reduce any discomfort that might occur with the penetration. In fact, 80% of Dry Needling is painless.  A local muscle twitch response might be felt once the needle is inserted into the pathological tissue but this sensation is normal and is felt for less than a second. Many patients describe this response as a little electrical shock while others report a cramping sensation. The local twitch response is a good and desirable response but is not the determining factor of a successful outcome. Your physical therapist will make every effort to make your experience comfortable and therapeutic. You will be asked to sign a consent form and your therapist will inform you of the risks.


How Will I Feel After a Dry Needling Treatment?

The response will vary and many individuals experience immediate relief of their symptoms and an increase in range of motion or mobility, along with an enhanced sense of well-being. Some individuals have a delayed response and notice an improvement in symptoms the following day. Some individuals report increased energy levels and a renewed sense of purpose for every day tasks or exercise. Soreness can occur from the needling and some individuals might experience a delayed onset soreness later that day or the next. The soreness, if present, might last up to 2 days after treatment. Mild bruising might occur at the needling sites depending on the area of the body, and application of ice on the bruise will help with any soreness. It is uncommon, although possible, that the treatment may temporarily increase your symptoms. This is unusual and if it persists beyond 2 days after treatment, inform your physical therapist of your response in order to enhance your comfort on the next treatment. This does not mean that needling will not benefit your condition as the response is cumulative and may require several sessions. 


Will I Continue To Receive Other Treatment In Conjunction with Dry Needling?

Yes, IDN therapy is used as an adjunct along with along manual therapies, therapeutic exercise and treatment you may already be receiving. It can also be used preventatively for individuals at risk or who have overuse syndromes.


How Many Treatments Will I Need?

Your physical therapist will perform a Quantitative Analysis to determine which category you fit into as determined by your overall health and ability to heal. Most individuals benefit from only four sessions, scheduled a week apart, and as needed after that. IDN attempts to cause mechanical and biochemical changes without surgery or other pharmacological intervention (medication). Therefore, a cumulative response is desired to break the pain cycle, which might take several treatment sessions, depending on the healing category you are in. For example, the more inflammation you have throughout your body, the more inflamed your muscles will be, which will require more sessions.


What Should I Do To Prepare For Dry Needling Treatment?

Do not eat 30 minutes before the treatment. Be well hydrated and empty your bladder prior to treatment. Wear loose fitting clothes, shorts or a bathing suit for access to areas needing treatment.


What Can I Do After Treatment/ Should I Avoid Anything?

Recommendations on activity vary depending on the amount of soreness you have and on the individual response to the treatment. Your physical therapist might recommend that you increase your water intake, apply ice or heat over the area, modify activities or do gentle stretches. Most individuals have no restrictions.


Is Dry Needling Therapy Covered By Insurance?

Coverage of Dry Needling should coincide with your physical therapy benefits and included if you are currently in physical therapy treatment at our clinic. You can also attend one of our 15 minute Dry Needling Wellness Sessions offered throughout the day at a cost of $47. No referral is required. You can discuss this with our office staff for more information and for available times.  Click here for Integrative Dry Needling Wellness and Consent Form.


Not all medical or physical therapy professionals are trained to perform this technique and laws vary from state to state. In Ohio, dry needling is considered within the scope of physical therapy practice for those who have met training requirements.