What Is Functional Dry Needling?

Functional Dry Needling (FDN) therapy is a powerful modality utilized in treating trigger points and muscular dysfunction. It is a skilled intervention used by trained practitioners in which a thin filiform needle is used to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscles, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. A trigger point describes a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch and can refer pain to distant parts of the body.
Trained therapists utilize functional dry needling to elicit a twitch response within the muscle causing biochemical changes. This twitch response is the necessary first step in releasing/inactivating the trigger points, improving muscle function and relieving pain.

Is Functional Dry Needling Similar to Acupuncture?

Although both techniques use very fine, sterile needles that are inserted into various parts of the body, it is important to note the distinct differences.
Acupuncture balances Qi (energy) within the body and follows pathways called meridians. Functional Dry Needling focuses on soft tissue and does not take meridians into account. FDN is specifically used to treat dysfunction within the local tissue. Both acupuncture and FDN can be used with and without muscle stimulation to help with treatment.
At The Tri Doc, we do both acupuncture and functional dry needling. During the exam we can discuss which treatment option is best for you.

Does Functional Dry Needling Hurt?

Typically, the insertion of the needle does not cause any pain or discomfort. The local twitch response can cause brief discomfort, feeling like an electric shock or cramping sensation. Most patients describe this as uncomfortable, but not painful.

Would Functional Dry Needling Help My Condition?

Functional Dry Needling can be very beneficial in many soft tissue complaints. An examination and determination of your underlying problem will tell us if FDN is right for you. After the exam, we will consider which modalities will get you back to health as soon as possible, discuss your options, and lay out a treatment plan.
Dry needling has been effective for resolving soft tissue dysfunction, such as, inflammation, tendonitis, contractures, trigger points, tissue adhesions, and various other musculoskeletal conditions.
When combined with other manual therapy and functional exercise, functional dry needling can help alleviate the following conditions:

  • Acute and chronic tendonitis
  • Athletic and sports-related overuse injuries
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Headaches and whiplash
  • Hip pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Low back pain
  • Motor vehicle accident related injuries
  • Muscle spasms
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Post-traumatic injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Sciatic pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • TMJ