MensHealth.comMove over, acupuncture. Physical therapists are adding a new needle to their toolkits, and it may be effective at banishing bodily aches and pains. Unlike acupuncture, an ancient practice that has been said to manipulate the flow of energy or qi to promote healing, dry needling works directly on the painful points in muscles that practitioners refer to as trigger points.

“Think of muscles as a rope,” says Matt Minard, DPT, a physical therapist with Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, NC. “If you get a knot, it can affect the muscle’s ability to contract, lengthen or function properly.” Using a needle the thickness of a human hair, he says he can break up that pesky knot.

Therapists usually use dry needling to augment other types of treatment, such as stretching. Yet Minard calls it “the most powerful tool in my belt.” Not all PTs offer it, so ask if yours has been trained in the technique. We won’t lie—dry needling hurts, and you’ll be sore for a few days afterward. Although the research isn’t conclusive, and more is definitely needed, the evidence so far suggests that dry needling might be worth a try for the following problems: – Click here to continue to menshealth.com

How can dry needling help you?

Dry needling is a skilled physical therapy intervention that uses a filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate trigger points (often referred to as knots) within the muscles and soft tissue.  These trigger points have been shown to be a significant source of pain and discomfort.  Physical therapists utilize dry needling with the goal of releasing/inactivating these trigger points and relieving pain.

Dry needling has been shown to be successful with conditions such as osteoarthritis, chronic and acute muscle spasms, tendonitis, chronic low back and neck pain, plantar fascitis and several other conditions.

Is dry needling safe?

Yes.  Clinicians that are certified to dry needle have gone through extensive training in the technique.  There are only a few contraindications that would make someone inappropriate for dry needling (1st-trimester pregnancy, high dosage/uncontrolled anti-coagulant medication, bleeding disorder, immune suppressive disorder, and active infection).

Performance offers dry needling at all 12 locations!