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What is Integrative Dry Needling and How Can it Help Me?

Sarah Meyer 
June 11, 2021
What is Integrative Dry Needling and How Can it Help Me?

What is Integrative Dry Needling?   

Physical stress can lead to muscle and joint imbalances and physiological stress can lead to inflammation and tissue ischemia. In order to reach homeostasis, both physical and physiological states need to be restored and IDN can help achieve that. Integrative Dry Needling (IDN) is different from traditional dry needling in that it takes a more systemic approach. IDN treats both locally in symptomatic trigger points, segmentally back to the spine, and systemically in homeostatic points to help relieve pain.

Dry needling works by creating a microlesion in the tissue, which stimulates the nervous system and may cause a twitch response (small muscle contraction) to help the muscle relax. Dry needling also creates tissue tension, leading to localized inflammation, and ultimately remodeling of the injured tissue, which is the first part of the healing process. Regarding more chronic conditions, needling the whole nerve where the injury lies, both segmentally and peripherally, can help decrease neurogenic inflammation and decrease pain.

How many sessions of IDN do I need?  

The number of dry needling sessions depends on how sensitive the nervous system already is. The more chronic the condition, the more sensitive the nervous system, and the more sessions of dry needling that may be indicated for pain relief.  In contrast, an acute or subacute injury may feel immediate relief with dry needling.  

What types of injuries does IDN treat?  

The list is endless! IDN is helpful in treating common running injuries from plantar fasciitis to hamstring strains, radicular pain, to assisting with breaking up scar tissue in post surgical cases, etc. Based on the systemic approach of IDN, it is an effective treatment option for a variety of injuries and conditions.

IDN for sports medicine? 

IDN is also beneficial for prevention of injury due to that fact that every local symptom creates a systemic effect. Therefore, if we can treat athletes in the pre symptom stage, we can reduce the biomechanical and physical stress, prevent injuries, and provide treatments for injuries caused by overtraining or repetitive movements.

Unfortunately, prevention is not talked about enough in the PT world because most insurance companies do not pay for prevention. However, prevention is so important! Why not stop an injury before it occurs? So, here at Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy we offer some cash based dry needling packages for athletes, people with repetitive jobs, or anyone who feels like they are hard on their body and want to experience what dry needling all entails.

What to expect after IDN?  

After a dry needling session, you are advised to not used NSAIDS or ice for 24 hours on the needled area because we do want that initial inflammation to come to the area to help with the healing process. Some people may experience a hematoma, or small bruise, and some might be a little achy in the area for 24 hours if a twitch response was elicited.

Please contact me if you have further questions, or just come visit me at Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy!

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