As a Physical therapist, I am always looking for different ways to help my patients, whether it be to reduce their pain, return to sports, or to simply move better. Whatever the goal, I will use any skills, knowledge, or techniques available to me to accomplish this. None have been a more impactful in my practice than Functional Dry Needling.
A little history of Dry Needling: A study was conducted many years ago to explore the effectiveness of lidocane intramuscular injections. One group received lidocane injections into the muscle, one group received a saline (sham) solution. The end results showed both groups significantly improved, however, there was not a large difference in the improvement between the groups. So if the Medication was the only thing different between the groups and didn’t seem to be the differing factor, how did both groups improve? It was the physical effect of the needle directly interacting with the muscle. Thus the concept of Dry Needling was born.
Over the last 20 years, additional and numerous studies have been conducted exploring the effectiveness of FDN, and all have shown to be positive and supporting in evidence. In 2014 the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) concluded that Physical therapist were one of the few qualified healthcare practitioners to perform the Dry Needling technique. Stratton Rehabilitation was the first in San Antonio to have all Therapists Certified in FDN as well as the first to complete advanced education and upper level training in FDN.
In my practice, the results of FDN speak for themselves. Chronic pain, neuromuscular dysfunction, lack of mobility, and lack of motion are all treatable by FDN. I have even had success with ALL types of inflammatory conditions; from Achilles tendinitis to plantar fasciitis, as well as bursitis cases.
Not only are the treatments successful, but they are faster. This is important for many people who are sick and tired of being in pain and ready to move on with life, it is important to my athlete who has a game in a few days, it’s important to the overwhelming majority of people who want the rehab process to be quick.
The biggest fear that most people have when I suggest FDN is “Will it hurt?” My response is an honest one: ” It can be uncomfortable and non-enjoyable, but the key is the end result and well worth it in the end.” I am the guy that passes out when I have blood drawn. The sight of needles makes me cringe. I can truly say having FDN done to you is well worth it because I have been needled myself in every area that I learned to needle patients (which covers about 98% of the body), and it has helped me with my pain. Stay tuned for more insight and the process of Functional Dry Needling!