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HEALTHBEAT 4: Dry Needling

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Dry Needling

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- Many people experience chronic or acute pain. When things like massage or exercise don't work, some turn to dry needling.

Physical therapists often use electric stimulation after putting a needle directly into the muscle.

"A lot of times when people come to me, they've tried everything else," said Alex Tritz, CNOS physical therapist.

Neck pain, headaches, low back pain, tight muscles and injury prevention are all reasons people may try dry needling.

"Dry needling is using a monophonic needle, kind of like an acupuncture needle, and inserting it into a muscle like a trigger point," said Tritz. "Using that to decrease soft tissue dysfunction or muscle referral pain patterns."

Using that electric stimulation on the muscle. Tritz said the process allows them to get deeper into the muscles than you can with a typical massage.

"So it goes sometimes down to the bone," said Tritz. "So we can get it pretty deep down in there and activate those muscles a little bit better."

Many times patients will see results the next day and the session goes pretty quickly depending on how many muscles she has to do.

"If I'm needling just one muscle, it might take me just a couple minutes to do," said Tritz. "There are people that I do an entire chain. So I start at the spine and go all the way down to their fingers or toes. That will take a little bit longer."

So how long does it last before you need to be needled again?

"Sometimes people get results after one time," said Tritz. "There are people that I kind of needle chronically to just maintain. So they don't keep continuing to get worse. So some chronic pain patients I do a lot of needling on."

Patients will typically experience a little bit of soreness. But Tritz compares it to a feeling like after you just worked out.

Tritz said she likes to finish off each session with exercise, heat or stimulation, or a massage. She also typically likes to wait six to seven days before she needles the muscles again.

Michaela Feldmann

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