What is Integrative Dry Needling?
Dr. Shyla’s specific training is in Integrative Dry Needling (IDN). The integrative piece of this means that not only is the needling addressing the muscular pain and trigger points, but Dr. Shyla also highlights (or pokes) points called homeostatic points (nerve points throughout our body where the nerves are most easily accessed for stimulation). Performing needling in these areas helps the nervous system to relax and inflammation to settle, which results in DECREASED PAIN!
Nerves can be inflamed and can be an influence on pain, especially when the pain is chronic in nature! Nerve inflammation can be related to overuse, trauma, injury, stress, emotional stress, dehydration, over-training, etc. When nerve inflammation occurs, the muscles try to guard and protect the nerves, which is the tightness and “knots” we feel. This response is a built-in protective mechanism that can unfortunately turn into unnecessary pain.
Dry needling is a really great adjunct to treatment, especially where there is more than one issue or dysfunction (hint: there is always more than one dysfunction!).
As a physical therapist, it is easy to immediately start thinking “what can be the problem HERE, at this location, where the pain is.” But needling can often help find the root cause of the issue driving the pain. For example, typically, when a patient has a shoulder joint or rotator cuff injury, they will point to a specific place on the shoulder and discuss when it is painful. However, pain can originate from a different spot than where you feel it. We have diffuse patterns of pain that are dull in nature, and maybe get a little bit worse or respond to different positions of the head neck and shoulder that don’t necessarily make sense for a specific joint injury. When we see this, that’s when we have to start thinking about myofascial restrictions and the overlap it has on the system and creation of pain.
Is treatment painful?
Often times, the needle isn’t even felt by the patient.
The following description may help patients nervous about dry needling: When a physical therapist locates trigger points with their fingers, the patient might feel some pain, referral, or something similar at the trigger point. When the therapist inserts the needle, the pain isn’t any greater than what the patient feels when the therapist is simply locating the trigger point with their hand. The difference is that when the therapist places the needle into the myofascial knot, there can be a contraction or a dull ache along the referral pathway, which is a different kind of sensation. The feeling is often more surprising than painful, somewhat of a deeper ache than what they typically might feel with just fingers feeling the trigger point, as the hands have to dig through many more layers of tissue to get to the same location as the needle, which can be very painful. The needle sensation is generally very fast and disappears within seconds.
What should I expect after treatment?
Dry needling can cause some global muscle soreness after treatment, which dissipates most often within 24 hours. You can resume all of your usual activity after treatment. Remember to drink increased amounts of water for the day and avoid anti-inflammatories as to allow the full benefit of the treatments.