What is Dry Needling?

IS DRY NEEDLING THE NEW WEAPON AGAINST CHRONIC PAIN? 

The ancient art of acupuncture and the modern treatment called dry needling have one thing in common. They both use tiny filament needles to promote healing. shoulder pain

Acupuncture aims to restore a person’s well-being and balance by placing the needles into specific points in the body to open up the body’s Chi, or energy flow.

With dry needling, on the other hand, the target is pain caused by severe muscle spasm, inflammation or injury.  It is a medicine-based treatment that uses needles to stimulate blood flow and promote natural healing to an area of the body that is affected by pain.  The needling therapy leads to a series of intricate chemical reactions in the brain, such as the release of a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which blocks pain. In addition, the chemical response increases natural opiates that leads to an overall decrease in inflammation.

According to Tanya Kalyuzhny, DPT, director of physical therapy at the Greenwich, CT office of ONS, dry needling can be an effective treatment to disrupt neuro-musculoskeletal pain patterns, release muscular limitations and provide relief from other painful orthopedic and spine conditions.

“Dry needling is a useful technique to remedy a range of painful conditions from stubborn muscle tightness to back pain, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and tendinitis,” Kalyuzhny said. Dry needling has been shown to be one of the most effective procedures to release trigger points. For this reason, therapists also use dry needling with patients suffering from fibromyalgia, a condition that can be difficult to treat manually because the points of pain are deep into the muscle.

During the treatment, a physical therapist who is trained and licensed to perform the procedure will insert a needle directly into a point of spasm in the muscle band, known as a trigger point, or around the region of pain or injury. The therapist will gently maneuver the needle until the targeted muscle twitches in response.  The needle is then wound inside the tissue by turning it in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Turning the tissue allows the collagen fibers to wrap around the needle and release toxins from within the muscle. The needle remains inserted into the trigger point for 10 to 30 minutes, during which time patients may experience momentary muscle cramping or a dull ache at the site. The needle is then unwound back to its starting position, which leaves the wrapped fibers in a relaxed state.

“The release of toxins can result in soreness and bruising for a day or two following the treatment,” said Kalyuzhny. Some people experience pain relief shortly after the procedure. However, additional treatments may be required depending on the nature of the chronic pain and other factors.  It can take as many as three treatments to start noticing a change.

While the treatment is relatively new to the general public, dry needling in use with high performance athletes who need to get back into the game as soon as possible.  “Professional athletes often rely on dry needling to loosen tight muscles and relieve pain caused by tendinitis and other sports injuries,” Kalyuzhny said

In most cases, dry needling is part of a larger therapeutic program that includes retraining and strengthening exercises to restore normal function and control of the affected musculature.  ONS has a number of physical therapists who are trained and licensed in dry needling. You can schedule a consultation to find out if dry needling is a pain management option for you.

Regenerative Medicine for Sports Injuries and Chronic Conditions

Surgery was once the only option to repair damaged cartilage, ligament and tendon injuries and some arthritic conditions.  Advances in biologic and regenerative medicine are changing that.  Sports medicine specialist, Dr. Tim Greene will explain the new biologic treatments in use today that are helping help patients heal from within to repair, and in some instances, regrow damaged tissue that either lack a natural healing environment or have not properly healed after injury.  Free.  Please register by calling 888-305-9253 or online.

Treatments for Tennis Elbow

ONS DR. DAVID WEI TALKS ON TREATMENT FOR TENNIS ELBOW. 

Tennis season is in full swing and so are the risks of overuse injuries such as Tennis Elbow.

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Tennis Elbow typically happens when a repetitive swinging motion pulls on the extensor tendons that connect the muscles in the forearm to the elbow, creating microscopic tears. Despite its name, there are many types of activities that can injure these tendons, especially those involving repetitive wrist motion. Although it continues to be a mystery as to why some patients develop Tennis Elbow while others are not affected, we do know that the end result is an abnormal change in the quality of the tendon itself, called angiofibroblastic hyperplasia.

Typical symptoms are pain along the outer side of the elbow with wrist motion and with gripping. The pain can be especially exacerbated by activities involving lifting objects with your elbow extended and the palm of your hand facing downward.

Recent data suggests that nearly all cases may resolve spontaneously, and the mainstay of treatment always begins with non-operative options. Avoiding aggravating activities or modifying the way you perform them can help decrease pain. For instance, lift things closer to your body, with your palms up. A splint or a counterforce brace can also help by relieving the strain on the tendon. In some cases, a physical therapy program and possibly injections will help the condition.

Most people don’t require surgery for Tennis Elbow. If, however, non-operative measures fail and the pain persists beyond six months, it may be time to consider surgery to repair the damaged tendons. Recovery time from surgery is relatively fast, but the tendons need time to regenerate, requiring approximately six to eight weeks.

Dr. Wei discusses tennis elbow in greater detail in this video.