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Using Trigger Point Dry Needling to Battle Chronic Pain

Adding Another “tool” to Fight Chronic Pain!

Are you a weekend fitness warrior? Is your job physically strenuous? Are you recovering from an injury or surgery? Do you have pain that just doesn’t respond to treatment?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then trigger point dry needling (TPDN) may be a tool worth adding to your tool box.

What is Trigger Point Dry Needling?

Trigger point dry needling is NOT acupuncture! After a complete physical therapy evaluation, a physical therapist can add TPDN to your plan of care. It is a skilled intervention using a small needle inserted into the skin reaching trigger points, tight muscle bands and connective tissue to manage neuromuscular pain and movement impairments.

When the needle reaches the trigger point, it can cause a “twitch response” that can eventually normalize the environment, both chemically and mechanically, reducing pain. The term “dry” means the needle does not contain any medicine.


Who Needs TPDN?

Anyone who has trigger points that lead to pain or poor movement patterns — chronic or acute. Examples of conditions that can be helped by TPDN include:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Low back and neck pain
  • Post-surgical pain (must be 12 weeks post op)
  • Tendonitis (rotator cuff, achilles, plantar fasciitis)
  • And more

Precautions with TPDN

Trigger point dry needling is not appropriate if you are pregnant, or if you have lymphedema, a pacemaker, a metal allergy, or a cognitive impairment. And it certainly isn’t a good treatment option if you have a fear of needles!

Want to Try TPDN for Pain Relief?

Call your doctor’s office and ask for a physical therapy order. Then, schedule your PT evaluation by calling 919-350-7000. Physical therapists specially trained to administer TPDN treatments are located at WakeMed Outpatient Rehabilitation at WakeMed Raleigh Campus.

You will be completely evaluated and then, if appropriate, TPDN can be added to a variety of skilled interventions including manual therapy, strengthening, range of motion, aquatics and education.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact WakeMed physical therapist, Blair Watson by calling 919-350-7000.

About Debra Thompson, PT

Debra Thompson is a physical therapist at WakeMed Outpatient Rehab. Learn more about rehab & physical therapy at WakeMed, and find a location near you.