Dry Needling- a new treatment option to Regional Health Rapid City Hospital
Not to be confused with acupuncture - dry needling is a technique physical therapists are using, where allowed by state law, for the treatment of pain and movement impairments.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — For those suffering with pain and have exhausted other physical therapy avenues, dry needling may be a treatment option.
The technique uses a “dry” needle, that is one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle. It acts as an extension of manual therapy techniques.
Jim Rix, Regional Health Rapid City Hospital Physical Therapist, says, “Basically any condition that involves muscles nerves dysfunction pain, we can target those tissues a little more directly than we can with just the use of our hands.”
The therapy is new to South Dakota, as legislation passed within the year to practice dry needling. Regional Health has been using this technique for about six months as another tool in toolbox in conjunction with other techniques and treatments.
Dry needling involves a thin needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying trigger points. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues and manually manipulate the muscle tissue with the needle or with the help of electrical stimulation.
Although they use the same type of needles — dry needling is not acupuncture, which is a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles.
Rix says, “The main difference is more the philosophy behind it. So with the Western medicine, we’re directly targeting the muscle tissue itself, versus the energy systems and the meridians acupuncture tends to target.”
In some patients, dry needling has been able to improve pain control and reduce muscle tension.
“It allows us to reach some more patients we had maybe in the past … (who) have struggled … (it) allows another treatment avenue. And it also gives patients hope that there’s another option out there, so they can try it if they have been one of the unfortunate ones who have undergone numerous medical treatments, numerous therapies and haven’t found that total relief — this may be an option for them,” says Rix.
And the majority of insures do not cover the procedure at this time.