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Trigger Point Dry Needling in Columbus, OH

Dr. Matt Longfellow

Leading Doctor of Physical Therapy, Columbus, OH

Here's what you need to know...

1. Dry Needling has been around for decades and is a great treatment option to relieve pain, improve mobility and enhance recovery.

2. The primary goal of Dry Needling is to relieve pain, restore mobility and function and to trigger the body's natural healing response. Dry Needling is extremely beneficial for quick and tangible results when combined with other movement strategies.

3. Dry Needling is NOT Acupuncture. Dry Needling treats pain based on specific pain patterns, muscular dysfunction, and depends upon physical assessment to guide the treatment. Acupuncture is tries to balance Energy, known as Chi, believed to flow through “meridians” in your body.

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Introduction To Dry Needling...​

In the pursuit of an active and healthy lifestyle, injuries and pain can be unwelcome roadblocks. For fitness enthusiasts in Columbus, OH, discovering effective & innovative solutions to overcome these challenges is crucial.

Enter dry needling, a cutting-edge therapeutic technique that has gained popularity among the health-conscious community seeking optimal recovery and performance.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the benefits of dry needling, answer the most common questions, and shed light on how this technique can be a game-changer in your fitness journey.


What Is Dry Needling?

Dry needling (also known as trigger point dry needling) is a specialized technique employed by skilled physical therapists to help treat myofascial or musculoskeletal pain.

It involves strategically inserting small, sterile needles into specific areas called “trigger points” to stimulate muscle tissue, encouraging improved blood flow and triggering the body’s natural healing response.

Unlike traditional acupuncture, dry needling focuses on releasing tension and promoting muscle function.

Have pain on the inside of your shoulder blade, or from your lower back down into your glute? It could just be an irritated trigger point that dry needling could help clear up really fast!

Shoulder Pain Trigger Points

Low Back Pain Trigger Points

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So how does dry needling cause pain to resolve quickly? There are a number of theories on why this happens, but I like to explain it in simple terms.

Think of a trigger point like a glitch in your computer. Something isn’t working right and it’s causing other things to have issues as well. What fixes most computer problems?

You got it - the reset!

Dry needling is like a reset button for the musculoskeletal system. If you have an irritated trigger point, we can "reset" it with dry needling. This reset occurs by promoting increased blood flow to the area and triggering the healing response. Increased blood flow brings more oxygen and fresh blood to the area, which “washes out” local inflammation and stagnant fluid.

There is also strong evidence that dry needling has a strong effect on the nervous system. Basically, dry needling a trigger point causes endogenous opioids (our bodies natural painkillers) to be released, which has a positive effect on pain-relief.

Some people do get sore for a day or two, which typically feels like you worked out hard and the muscle is fatigued. In addition, if you want the results to last, you have to perform self-treatment to really maximize the benefits from dry needling. Picking the right home exercises and doing the right technique is where the magic happens.

  • Treat the right muscle, do the wrong exercises, not the best results.
  • Treat the wrong muscle, give the right exercises, not the best results.
  • Treat the right muscle, give the right exercises, phenomenal results.
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The Benefits of Dry Needling For Active Individuals...


1. Pain Relief:

  • Dry needling effectively reduces muscle tightness and alleviates pain by releasing trigger points.

  • Accelerates the body's natural healing processes, promoting faster recovery from injuries.


2. Improved Flexibility and Range of Motion:

  • Targeted dry needling enhances muscle flexibility, enabling better range of motion during physical activities.
  • Ideal for addressing stiffness and restrictions commonly experienced by active individuals.


3. Enhanced Athletic Performance:

  • By releasing tension and optimizing muscle function, dry needling contributes to improved athletic performance.
  • Reduces the risk of injury by addressing underlying issues that may impede optimal movement.


4. Faster Recovery from Workouts:

  • Active individuals often push their bodies to the limit during workouts. Dry needling can expedite recovery, allowing for more consistent training.
  • Helps prevent overuse injuries by addressing muscle imbalances and promoting balance in the musculoskeletal system.


5. Holistic Approach to Pain Management:

  • Dry needling is part of a holistic approach that complements other physical therapy interventions, providing a well-rounded solution for pain and injuries.
  • Addresses both the symptoms and root causes of pain, promoting long-term relief.


Common Questions About Dry Needling...


❓Is Dry Needling Different From Acupuncture?

Yes. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses “meridians” to guide treatment while Dry Needling uses trigger points to guide treatment. Those palpable spots are not associated with organ systems or ‘chi.’ The work of Travell and Simons was instrumental in finding these trigger points and have been verified in research.


How Can Dry Needling Benefit Me?

Whether you strained your back in the gym or hurt your knee on your most recent run, dry needling can be a huge help to get you back to the workouts and activities you love.

The muscles in your body will be able to finally relax following needling and your sleep could improve. Muscle spasms and inflammation can happen anywhere in the body with injury. What if that spasm could be relieved in just a few sessions? Don’t wait for the pain to become worse before you do something about it.


What Should I Expect During A Session of Dry Needling?

Each session of dry needling will begin with an assessment of your pain, symptoms and mobility. Based on assessment, we can accurately identify specific ares/muscles to target with dry needling. We ask that you wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing so we can access all the areas we need to during our session of intramuscular therapy.

At the end of treatment we will re-evaluate the previous motions that were painful prior to treatment. We often find a very noticeable change in range of motion and pain levels.


Is Dry Needling Painful?

The insertion of the thin needles is typically minimally uncomfortable. However, any discomfort is usually short-lived. Patients often report feeling immediate relief following the session.


How Many Sessions Will It Take Before I Notice A Change?

As stated above, improvements in pain and your ability to perform your sport/exercise can often occur from the very first treatment. However, for some people it can take 3-4 sessions before we notice a major change in symptoms.

The more acute an injury, the quicker we typically notice a change. The more chronic the condition, the longer it will take. In our experience, the majority of patients get some relief with trigger point dry needling.


Are There Any Side Effects?

Side effects are generally minimal. Some patients may experience temporary soreness or bruising at the needle insertion sites. These effects are typically short-lived and subside within a day or two.


Can Dry Needling Replace Other Forms of Physical Therapy?

Dry needling is often used in conjunction with other physical therapy modalities to provide a comprehensive treatment approach. It is a valuable addition to a customized treatment plan designed to address the specific needs of each patient.

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Take The Next Step Towards Pain-Free Living

If you’ve been struggling with an injury or pain that’s stopping you from enjoying the workouts and activities you love, this could be a very effective treatment option for you.

You don’t have to wake up every morning hoping that your shoulder/back/knee or whatever areas finally stops hurting.

It’s sad how many people are living in pain daily. It stops them from playing with their kids, walking 18 holes in golf, staying in shape and living overall happier lives.

If you're in the Columbus, OH area and you'd like to speak with one of our Doctor's of Physical Therapy to find out if our approach is right for you, we'd love to chat.

Click here to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see how dry needling could benefit you on your journey to a pain-free and active life.

Thanks for reading!


Dr. Matt Longfellow, PT, DPT, SCS, SFG-II

Founder of Athletes' Potential Columbus

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