Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Dry Needling?


Dry needling is the Western equivalent of acupuncture and can help take away pain in multiple areas of the body. 

“If you have pain from muscle tension, back pain, neck pain, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow or headaches, dry needling can help,” commented Tung Le, a physical therapist certified in dry needling at Sentara Martha Jefferson. 

Dry needling uses the same needs that are used for acupuncture…but doesn’t follow the traditional Chinese medicine philosophy of using meridians to determine the points where needles are placed. 

Instead, tender trigger points are used to determine where needles should be placed. 

“It’s kind of a one-on-one evaluation based on the patient,” noted Le.  

The number of points that are treated by therapists during a session varies based on the level of pain patients are experiencing.  Typically, four to six treatments are needed for things to significantly improve.  And, along the way, more traditional physical therapy remedies are also used. 

“Because we are therapists, we always incorporate exercise and patient education,” noted Le. 

Dry needling simply provides one more option to help ease the pain. 

“It’s just another tool that we can pull out of our pockets on a patient that seems to be more of a problem and maybe that’s the extra thing that’s needed to get them better,” commented Le. 

You do need a referral from your doctor for dry needling, so if you are interested, it’s best to speak with your doctor about if it could be right for you. 

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, please email healthquestions@nbc29.com.

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

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