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Mike Hattlestad

Everyone loves October.

We have the World Series (go, Red Sox!), college football, NFL Sundays, hunting, fishing, and best of all…Physical Therapy month!

Wait, what? Physical Therapy may not be at the top of your list, but many people struggle with pain and discomfort from hobbies, jobs, exercise, sports, outdoor activities including ranch and yard work.

Physical therapists strive to keep up with ever-changing medical research and better understanding of the human body to improve our methods, treatments, and knowledge to help people’s pain and functional performance. One of these newer methods is called dry needling.

Tiny needles, similar to those used in acupuncture, are inserted into painful sites around the body and left in for an average of 15 minutes, sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulation. The needles are then removed and the patient may be asked to do some simple stretching or strengthening exercises to complete the session.

Treatment can involve between 4-8 sessions, after which the pain should be decreased and the patient can move on and forget about it. Dry needling can help improve flexibility and mobility as well as address joint, muscular, neck, back and shoulder pain.

Although the needles used are similar to those used in acupuncture, dry needling is based on western, modern scientific studies of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. There are numerous conditions that may benefit from the use of dry needling but most practitioners agree that any type of myofascial pain would be an ideal condition that may be treated with the dry needling.

According to WebMD, myofascial pain is an elaborate term for muscle pain. According to the authors of Kalichman and Vulfsons, myofascial pain may affect up to 10 percent of the adult population and may contribute to both short and long-term pain conditions.

For more information on dry needling and how it may help you schedule a consult with Marcus Daly Rehabilitation Center’s certified Physical Therapists whom specialize in dry needling either Desiree Dutton MPT or Mike Hattlestad MS PT, OCS, and start on the path of pain-free living and start living and enjoying the wonderful months in Montana.

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