Functional Dry Needling Offered at Fallon Medical Complex

Functional Dry Needling is a skilled, invasive technique performed by a licensed Physical Therapist (PT) using narrow “dry” filiform needles to penetrate the skin and underlying tissues, without injection of medications. This technique requires the PT to be trained and certified in the specific procedure. The desired result is to affect minor changes in body structures and bodily functions in order to evaluate and manage neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain, movement impairments, and disabilities. Dry needling allows a PT to target inner body tissues that are not able to be reached with their hands.

There is a common misconception that Functional Dry Needling is used to achieve the same results as Acupuncture. Whereas both disciplines involve the insertion of needles into specific areas of the body, Acupuncture is used to improve blood flow, and Dry Needling targets a more specific area in a patient’s muscle tissue, causing the muscle to contract and release. Functional Dry Needling is a valuable treatment for musculoskeletal related pain, requiring a physical examination and diagnosis. It is typically part of a larger treatment plan that is designed by a PT for each individual patient. It is most effective when used with various exercises to assist in the correction of muscle imbalance and/or abnormal functional bodily movements.

Similar to other rehabilitative services, the process starts with an evaluation of a patient’s needs by their medical provider. Upon their recommendation to physical therapy, they work with a PT to set up a treatment plan. If the patient’s diagnosis could benefit from Functional Dry Needling, they will be asked to sign an Advance Beneficiary Notice of potential non-coverage under most health insurance plans. Insurance companies generally cover rehabilitative services; however, some insurances may not cover this particular therapy. They may consider the technique to still be experimental and not medically necessary. It is progressively gaining traction, but current medical evidence is insufficient to determine the effects of this treatment on health outcomes, despite favorable patient feedback.

Victoria Susa, PT, DPT, is a Licensed Certified Level 1 Functional Dry Needler, offering this service locally at Fallon Medical Complex. A patient who is feeling pesky, persistent pain or has problems moving various parts of their body, and has not responded to other conventional treatments, may benefit from an evaluation by Victoria to see whether this technique can make a positive change in their healing process.  For more information on what types of muscle imbalances or abnormal functional movements that may be best suited for Functional Dry Needling, visit the following Cleveland Clinic website: .