Dry Needling FAQs

Written by Hannah Jaime, PT DPT

One of the many treatment options offered at Sport & Spine Physical Therapy is Dry Needling. This technique is a newer, evidence-based treatment available and we are thrilled to offer it to our patients! Read on for the frequently asked questions about dry needling:

What is dry needling? 

Dry needling is a treatment performed by a physical therapist in which a short, thin, sterilized stainless steel filiform needle is inserted into the skin, fascia, or muscle. The needle contains no liquid, and nothing is injected. As this needle goes in, it causes a small, beneficial inflammatory response that helps accelerate your body’s natural healing processes by increasing blood flow to an area while simultaneously decreasing muscle tension. 

What conditions do dry needling treat? 

Dry needling is most commonly used to treat trigger points. Trigger points are localized, hyper-irritable spots in a muscle that form a palpable, taut band or “knot.” Dry needling can also help with migraines or headaches and has shown to decrease inflammation in acute injuries. Dry needling is an awesome adjunct to many conditions for which people attend physical therapy – trigger finger, plantar fasciitis, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and various forms of tendonitis.

Is it the same as acupuncture? 

Nope! While both philosophies of treatment use similar needles, dry needling is based on traditional practices of Western Medicine and knowledge of neuroanatomy to restore normal muscle function. By contrast, acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, focused on treatments to normalize the flow of Chi to regulate energy imbalances. 

How long does it take? 

A session of dry needling takes 10-30 minutes depending on the area of the body being treated. Some people experience relief immediately following their session; however, pain relief or change of symptoms usually occurs within 24-48 hours of the treatment being performed.

Does it hurt? 

When the treatment is being performed, some people do not feel the needles go in at all, whereas others may feel a transient crampy or aching sensation. After the needles have been removed, you may feel some residual soreness in the area that was treated, but this does not always occur yet it varies from person to person. If soreness is felt, it is usually synonymous to the feeling typically one gets in their muscles following a hard workout at the gym. 

What does it cost? Does insurance cover it? 

Most insurances currently consider dry needling to be an elective procedure, so at this time it is usually billed separately. For individuals that are interested in just coming in to having dry needling done, the cost is $50/session. For persons that are current patients of Sport and Spine, this treatment is offered at a reduced rate of $20/session. 

Rehab, Performance, Recovery. Dry needling has the potential to a vast majority of the population, BUT dry needling still might not be the best fit for everyone. And that’s okay. One of our Doctors of Physical Therapy will perform an assessment to see if it is right for YOU. And if not, we will use one of our many treatment options to help you work through an injury or achieve your performance goals. Give us a call at 507-474-6900. 

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Winona, MN 55987


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