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WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL DRY NEEDLING (FDN)?

FDN is a treatment used to treat a variety of soft-tissue injuries. FDN is often referred to as trigger point dry needling for its common use in addressing trigger points in muscle tissue. FDN, however, goes beyond treating trigger points. To understand this, let’s first define what a trigger point is and where it comes from.

A trigger point in the muscle is a palpable area of taut skeletal tissue that is a common source of pain. It can result from local injury or irritation to a muscle tissue but it can also result from a complicated series of communications between the muscle and nervous system. For example, if you have an area of weakness in the body, your nervous system may give a signal to create a trigger point in a muscle to help compensate or stabilize for theweakness. This compensation can occur far away from the original source. In either case, trigger points can result in other muscles having to take up the slack and can result in more injury, trigger points, and pain patterns. The subsequent tightness can cause entrapment or compression of nerves and tension on tendons and joints. In all of these cases, efficient movement and activation of the muscle becomes impaired and injury ensues (and persists).

The take-away here is that it is often ineffective and possibly detrimental to treat a singular trigger point without knowing its true source. With proper evaluation and treatment with dry needling, we can not only quickly resolve trigger points but also return each muscle along this chain of dysfunction back to its healthy state, allowing freedom of movement and improved function.

HOW DOES FDN WORK?

FDN works similar to the way that sustained pressure, often applied during a massage, works to release a trigger point. However, dry needling is more direct, quicker, and can target tissue not palpable by hand. The needle causes a twitch response which results relaxation of the trigger point and subsequent decrease in pain by way of decreased tension on muscles, tendons, and joints and decreased compression on sensitive nerves and vessels.

IS IT THE SAME THING AS ACUPUNCTURE?

The short answer is no.

Acupuncture has its place in treating various ailments and may have been effective for you in the past. It is based on Eastern medicine principles and treatment is done by way of tradition acupuncture points and non-scientific meridians. Medical examination is not needed to perform acupuncture

Dry needling uses a similar thin filament needle but is based on Western medical research. Treatment is targeted based on thorough knowledge of anatomy and muscle/movement dysfunction. Medical examination is imperative before performing dry needling.

WHAT CAN YOU TREAT WITH FDN?

FDN can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions. When implemented with manual physical therapy and rehabilitative exercises, it can treat:

  • Back pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Muscle strains
  • Hip pain
  • And more…

At Omega Project PT, we specialize in the treatment of LE injuries and shoulder injuries. However, because we want to treat to root cause, we may apply treatment to the back and neck.

We would be happy to discuss your specific injury no matter what it is and make sure Omega Project PT and FDN are the right fit for you.

DOES IT HURT?

Because the needle is so thin, needle insertion is not a common cause of pain during a treatment. Often, when we are treating the correct area, there can be localized discomfort or referred pain during the twitch response of the muscle. This discomfort is short-lived.

HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER FDN?

At times, clients report feeling soreness in the muscle after a treatment with FDN. This soreness is similar to the soreness one might experience after a hard workout. This soreness can be short-lived or last for a few days. Movement and exercise are encouraged after treatment with FDN as it may help alleviate the soreness.

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