I’ve been utilizing Dry Needling with patients for over eight years. Every post that I have done in the past has always been about the benefits of the treatment, and the amazing results I’ve achieved with my clients. I thought it would be appropriate today to talk about the potential risks associated with dry needling, what we do as an organization to avoid those risks to provide you with the safest Dry Needling treatment in the state.
Dry Needling Risks:
The biggest risk associated with dry needling is an infection. Anytime you break the skin you are opening up your body to bacteria and infection. That is why our parents always told us to clean our cuts when we were kids. It doesn’t help the cut to heal faster, it just reduces the risk of infection. An infection with dry needling doesn’t even have to come from the needle. It could be something that you have on your skin that then gets introduced into your body due to the needle stick.
The good news is that, even though it’s a risk, we take 4 steps to be sure that you have a very small chance at contracting an infection. Step #1 is we wear gloves. This is more to protect you from us, than us from you. Nearly one in three people have naturally occurring staph under their nails and also in their nose. We want to be sure you aren’t exposed to that bacteria or anything else that we may have on our skin, so we wear gloves. Step #2 is we clean your skin with alcohol. Don’t be offended, we don’t think you’re dirty, we just want to kill any bacteria that may be hiding on your own body. Step #3 is we clean our gloves with hand sanitizer. This might seem like overkill but like I said, we take every measure needed to minimize the risk of an infection. Step #4 is using clean, unused, unopened needles. To most this would seem like a no-brainer but you would be surprised what some other facilities do.
The other main risk associated with dry needling is a pneumothorax. A pneumothorax is a punctured lung, and although not usually life threatening, not something that anyone wants. When a needle is introduced into the lung field it creates a small hole. Just like a balloon, the air starts to leak out and causes and deflated lung. This seems like a crazy risk, and a frightening scenario, but the likelihood of it happening is almost zero.
Myself, and my staff, have all been trained through KinetaCore. KinetaCore has a staged learning process. Level 1 introduces the clinician to dry needling and teaches them how to treat areas very far away from the lung field. In order to take level 2 (which teaches areas near the lung field) you have to treat 250 patients and practice for a year. That means that the therapists that go on to take level 2 have a lot of experience. The skills you learn in level 2 are closer to the lung field but every precaution is taken to be sure you don’t introduce the needle into the lung.
Those are the two main risk that you have to be aware of when it comes to receiving dry needling treatment. I’m very happy to report that neither myself, nor my staff, have ever had a patient get an infection, or a pneumothorax. We follow these precautions to the letter to be sure you get the best treatment possible with risk. If you have any questions about treatment, good or bad, please contact us. Visit Orthocore Physical Therapy to learn more or make an appointment.