What is Functional Dry Needling?
Functional Dry Needling (FDN) is a skilled technique performed by a physical therapist using thin mono-filament needle. This means the needle is not hollow like those used for injection. The needle is used to penetrate the skin and underlying tissues to affect change in body structures and functions. FDN can assist in the evaluation and management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain and movement impairments. It is theorized to be a “reset” to the muscle or tissue preventing an individual from performing normal activities. Each case is treated on an individual basis, taking into account a person’s medical condition, lifestyle and individual needs.
What Kind of Needles Are Used?
Functional Dry Needling involves the use of a thin mono-filament filiform needle. This is the same type of needle that is utilized for acupuncture treatment. The needle is placed and penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying trigger points and soft tissue. This process allows a physical therapist to target tissues too deep to reach from the surface.
Is Functional Dry Needling the same as Acupuncture?
In short, no. FDN and Acupuncture use similar types of needles but that is where the similarities end. Acupuncture is a form of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) based on traditional Chinese medicine and can only be performed by a properly educated and licensed acupuncturist. Acupuncture frequently focuses on realigning the body’s energies or “Qi”. The focus of FDN is to physically interact and target deep soft tissues to improve mobility, break up trigger points and increase blood flow.
What is a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may refer pain to other parts of the body. These are what people often refer to as “knots” in their muscles frequently felt in sore muscles like the upper traps.
Is Functional Dry Needling Safe?
Physical therapists wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment when dry needling, consistent with Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings, and OSHA standards. Your physical therapist will provide further information regarding the safety of dry needling and how it relates to your specific case.
Is Functional Dry Needling For Me?
The therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation in order to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for dry needling. Once contraindications and precautions have been evaluated, documented, and discussed, you will come to a decision together as to whether or not you would like utilize dry needling as a therapeutic intervention.