A fine filiform needle, used in a practice called dry needling, inserted into a muscle’s trigger point until the muscle twitches and releases, can relieve all manner of painful conditions.
“The intent of dry needling is to deactivate the trigger point, which is a tight band of tissue that can cause referral pain,” says Dina Kramer, physical therapist and owner of Kramer Physical Therapy. For example, a trigger point in the shoulder can cause pain to radiate down the arm.
“My job is to get the muscle to release so I can mobilize the joint.”
Kramer says for patients with various forms of pain, dry needling can be like pressing a reset button.
“Most people feel a little achy for a day or two, then they feel like a million bucks,” she said.
Kramer has many years of experience practicing trigger point dry needling. Then in 2014, the Tennessee Attorney General stopped physical therapists from using the therapy. Since then, she worked with fellow PTs and the Tennessee Physical Therapy Association (TPTA), lobbying legislators to support a bill allowing physical therapists to use the very effective modality. Their efforts succeeded and according to a new series of regulations related to the practice, dry needling can be offered beginning Wednesday, June 29.
In order to offer and perform trigger point dry needling, licensed physical therapists must be in practice for a year and undergo specialized training. Kramer served on the dry needling task force assisting the state in approving dry needling education courses offered to Tennessee therapists. “The state has a well-designed protocol for training before a physical therapist can practice dry needling,” Kramer says. There are basic and advanced training which includes more complex regions of the body like TMJ and pelvic floor.
Because many of her patients are already aware dry needling will be available on Wednesday, Kramer’s appointment book is filling up quickly.
“People have been waiting for this, and I’m happy we will be able to help them,” she says.
To make an appointment or learn more about Kramer Physical Therapy, visit kramerphysicaltherapy.com.