Agnesian HealthCare To Offer New Pain Management Treatment

Individuals who are experiencing muscle tension and spasms now have another alternative to find relief through a service now offered through by physical therapists at Agnesian HealthCare’s Sports & Spine Center in Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun.

            Dry needling is used effectively to treat muscle pain and spasms, which commonly accompany conditions such as arthritis, acute/chronic injuries, headaches, neck/back pain, tendinitis, muscle spasms, sciatica, hip/knee pain, muscular strain, fibromyalgia, ligament strains and herniated discs, as well as a variety of other bone and muscle pain.

It is called “dry” needling because there is no solution injected as with a hypodermic needle during a flu shot. With dry needling, the needle itself and the effects it produces within the tissue is the treatment. It is covered by most insurance plans with a referral to physical therapy.

“It’s like a trigger point release that helps restore muscle and nerve function for a patient’s current condition,” according to Zach Pitz, director of Musculoskeletal and Rehabilitation Services. “Dry needling is a soft tissue technique like advanced massage, and is used for scar tissue and muscle tightness. Dry needling works on muscle tissue whereas acupuncture works on the electrical flow/energy.”

Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine and focuses on the energy. It treats the entire body to restore balance versus dry needling, which focuses on a specific muscle and the neurological aspect.

 Dry needling goes right to the muscle to release the muscle fibers/tissue.

“Dry needling can help with many types of patient pain and is used in conjunction with other hands-on therapy techniques,” Pitz explains. “Therapists offer this treatment over the course of time to help get to the root of the issues to avoid continued pain or spasm issues. We work collaboratively with our patients to identify the source of their soreness and work to improve it.”

When an injury occurs from repetitive use or acute trauma, inflammation is produced from damaged tissues. Damaged tissues go into a protective tension state to guard against further damage from utilizing the injured tissue. As a result, scar tissue builds over time causing compression and irritation of nerves.

“The aim of dry needling is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain,” according to Pitz. “Dry needling is an effective treatment for nerve-related pain with very few side effects.”

The needle used is very thin and most individuals do not even feel it penetrate the skin. The local “twitch response” may provoke a brief sensation that has been described as a tingling, aching or cramping.

“We look forward to offering a new care alternative for our patients,” says Dan Garcia, Sports & Spine Center supervisor. “Dry needling is best used in conjunction with traditional physical therapy practices to promote the quick return of an individual back to a healthy, functional lifestyle. We have found that individuals can experience improved muscle flexibility, decreased local or referred pain, decreased sensitivity, increased rate of healing and decreased recurrence of injury.”

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