The latest in pain management doesn’t come in a pill. And while it uses a needle, that needle is not full of medicine.
Dry needling is a new procedure offered at Redmond Regional Medical Center’s Rehab Center.
Michael Shin, a doctor of physical therapy, first learned of dry needling while he was a student at North Georgia College & State University. In the past two months, he has seen about 100 patients who look to the procedure for pain relief.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Legislature approved the use of dry needling as part of the Georgia Physical Therapy Practice Act under House Bill 145.
Even though it may seem similar to Chinese acupuncture, Shin is quick to point out that it is not related in any way.
“Dry needling is an integrative therapeutic modality for soft tissue dysfunction,” Shin said.
“This treatment technique is used to address painful conditions that are related to small contractures in muscles, called trigger points. Dry needling is a minimally invasive procedure in which a monofilament needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a trigger point,” Shin said.
The procedure works because inserting a needle into a trigger point can cause favorable biomechanical, neurological and mechanical changes.
“These changes help to eliminate the trigger point and any associated pain by decreasing inflammation and modulating response of sensory nerve fibers to pain,” Shin said.
A variety of conditions can be treated with dry needling, Shin said, including lower back and neck pain, shoulder and arm pain (tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and impingement), hip and leg pain (sciatica, muscle strain and calf tightness/spasm), foot (ankle sprain, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis), headache and jaw pain.
Some of the patients referred to him “have chronic pain, and they have tried everything,” Shin said.
After the treatments, most patients feel soreness that can last from a few hours to a few days, and as with all treatments involving a needle, there is a risk for infection.
Shin uses a single-packed disposable and sterile needle during treatment to prevent infection.
For more information about dry needling, contact RRMC’s Outpatient Rehab at 706-236-1911. The center is located at 2112 Shorter Ave., Suite 210.