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What is Functional Dry Needling?

Functional Dry Needling® (FDN) involves inserting a tiny mono filament needle in a muscle or muscles in order to release shortened bands of muscles and decrease trigger point activity. This can help resolve pain and muscle tension and will promote healing. This is not traditional Chinese Acupuncture but is instead a medical treatment that relies on a medial diagnosis to be effective.

During FDN the needling is inserted into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a ‘Trigger Point’. Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it is advanced into the muscle, the feeling of discomfort can vary drastically from patient to patient.  Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp — which is often referred to as a ‘twitch response’. The twitch response also has a biochemical characteristic to it which likely affects the reaction of the muscle, symptoms, and response of the tissue. Along with the health of the tissue, the expertise of the practitioner can also attribute to the variation of outcome and/or discomfort.  The patient may only feel the cramping sensation locally or they may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. A reproduction of their pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, thereby reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle.

Typically,positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner. FDN is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.

Common lower extremity conditions treated with FDN include:

Common upper extremity conditions treated with FDN include:

Common spinal conditions treated with FDN include:

Bridger Orthopedic

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