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What is Dry Needling and who is it good for?

Written by Jason Douglas, Physiotherapist

What is Dry Needling?

Inserting a Dry Needle to a shoulderDry needling is a specialized technique used by certified physiotherapists, chiropractors and medical doctors. The technique, depending on clinician training, can be termed: Dry Needling, Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), Biomedical Dry Needling or Functional Dry Needling (FDN) but all tends to follow the same treatment approach.

Dry needling is used to treat musculoskeletal systems based on pain patterns, muscular dysfunction and other orthopaedic signs and symptoms after an initial patient assessment.

How does Dry Needling work?

Dry needling works on several levels within the body to assist in releasing tight and sore muscles that can be found in common conditions. The technique itself involves the insertion of fine acupuncture needles into taught bands of muscle that contain a knot or “trigger point”. During treatment, patients will generally feel the muscle grab or twitch briefly as the needle hits the target tissue. This feeling is not painful, though is somewhat uncomfortable – but is over within 2-3 seconds! After the target tissue has been released, your therapist can provide appropriate exercise to maintain proper function and mobility of the area.

What conditions can Dry Needling help?

Many common orthopaedic conditions can be helped by Dry Needling, including:

  • Muscular strains
  • Sporting injuries
  • Tension headaches
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Repetitive strain injuries (tennis elbow/patellar tendonitis/achilles tendonitis)
  • Whiplash
  • Lower back pain

Is Dry Needling only for pain?

No! While Dry Needling is often able to offer instant pain relief, the main goal of needling is to allow proper movement and function. When pain is reduced after needling, joint range of motion is improved and proper corrective exercise can be prescribed to patients. Also, there are often times when your therapist will perform Dry Needling away from the site of pain, to release adjacent or compensating muscles, which can enable proper body function as a whole and relieve patient pain even faster.

Jason West Springs Dry Needling Physio

Is Dry Needling safe?

Yes! As in all advanced therapy practices there are risks involved, but the most common side effect is local soreness around the needle insertion point that lasts 12-24 hours. Your treating clinician will review all relevant contraindications to Dry Needling prior to treatment.

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To book an appointment with Jason, please call Momentum Health West Springs at (403) 453–3373

Jason Douglas - Physiotherapist, Clinic Director

Jason graduated with his Bachelors of Physical Education in 2008 and his Masters of Science in Physical Therapy in 2011, from the University of Alberta. He worked for the Canadian Back Institute for one year, working with patients rehabilitating from spinal injuries, chronic pain and musculoskeletal sprains/strains. Jason opened Momentum Health West Springs and has worked as clinical lead and managing Clinic Director there since 2014. As well, Jason works as a Lead Instructor – teaching other physical therapists, chiropractors and Medical Doctors how to perform Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) – a speciality dry needling technique. Jason focuses in the treatment of sporting injuries, rotator cuff rehabilitation, whiplash, post-surgical rehab, as well as tension headaches and lower back dysfunction. Jason is also involved with high level athletics, working as the physical therapist for the Canadian National Professional Boxing welterweight champion (Steve Claggett) UFC Featherweight (Hakeem Dawodu), many of the Calgary Gymnastic Clubs Provincial and National level gymnasts, as well as mixed martial artists competitors and coaches from local gyms in Calgary. When not helping patients to rehabilitate from their injuries, Jason enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking and boxing.

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