Functional Dry Needling (FDN)
Functional Dry Needling (FDN) is a skilled intervention offered by our certified physical therapists at Franciscan Healthcare. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, Functional Dry Needling is “a skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.” Essentially, your physical therapist will utilize a thin needle, insert it into a muscle that is painful or has a “knot” or trigger point, aiming to reduce tension, dysfunction, and impairment within that region.
Our physical therapists perform a routine evaluation of each patient, including subjective and objective examinations of the neuromuscular system. A treatment plan is outlined with clear therapeutic goals and objectives established. If it is determined the patient may benefit from FDN based on the assessment, your physical therapist will follow all necessary guidelines to implement an intervention to restore function. Each patient will be educated on FDN rationale and theory, what to expect during and after treatment, the type of needle used, precautions, possible side-effects, and expected outcomes. It is important to note FDN is NOT synonymous with acupuncture.
Upon initiating FDN, your physical therapist will begin by palpating the target muscle where you may be experiencing pain or dysfunction. The therapist will look for a taut band, or a “knot” in the muscle, which identifies the band is hyperirritable. The top of the needle is tapped into the skin and the needle is guided toward the trigger point until resistance is felt and a twitch response is elicited. An exercise program inclusive of, but not limited to, stretching and strengthening will remain the focal point of intervention with FDN supplementing patient rehabilitation and recovery.
FDN can bring lasting effects and relief from muscle pain and dysfunction if integrated into your traditional treatment plan appropriately. For more information, please contact our certified physical therapists.