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Greenfield’s Body Shoppe offers new muscle therapy — Functional Dry Needling

  • Linda Sharkey of Orthopedic Physical Therapy at The Body Shoppe administers Functional Dry Needling to a client. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • The single-use disposable needles are about the width of a human hair, and are the same kind that are used in acupuncture. But instead of treating health problems by stimulating energy meridians in the body, in dry needling, the needle is used to find the trigger point in a tight muscle. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Therapist Linda Sharkey, who has a doctorate in physical therapy, learned the FDN technique this fall and practiced on Body Shoppe staff members for several months before offering it as a physical therapy option. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Friday, February 09, 2018

A new treatment to ease muscle “knots,” twitches, spasms and muscle tightness is now being offered by Orthopedic Physical Therapy (OPT) at The Body Shoppe in Greenfield.

It’s called “Functional Dry Needling,” or FDN. It looks like acupuncture, but the thin needles used in this technique are intended to free up muscle movement and ease pain.

Therapist Linda Sharkey, who has a doctorate in physical therapy, learned the FDN technique this fall and practiced on Body Shoppe staff members for several months before offering it as a physical therapy option.

“Dry needling isn’t really new,” Sharkey says, “but it is new here. It has been used in other parts of the U.S. for over a decade. Patients report good results, and research shows not just changes in movement and pain, but changes like increased blood flow, and decreased local inflammation, too.”

“I had started thinking about (dry needling) when I was seeing people with persistent stiffness. I see a lot of people who feel like they’ve ‘had this knot in my muscle forever,’ or chronic lower back pain, sciatica,” Sharkey said.

“These kinds of conditions can go on forever and develop scar tissue,” says Elizabeth Dolby, co-owner of Orthopedic Physical Therapy. “We’re always trying to stay with the latest techniques.” Dolby said there is only one other practice west of Interstate 495 that is offering DNL. “So this is one more thing we can offer that is cutting-edge,” she said.

The first visit takes about an hour and it includes an assessment for the client. The follow-up visits are generally a half-hour and they are followed immediately by exercise “because, if I just send people on their way, they’re going to be back the next week,” Sharkey explains.

The single-use disposable needles are about the width of a human hair, and are the same kind that are used in acupuncture. But instead of treating health problems by stimulating energy meridians in the body, in dry needling, the needle is used to find the trigger point in a tight muscle. The needle in FDN is gently twisted, to release tension in the trigger point and the tight muscle. Sharkey and Dolby say clients will generally feel a muscle twitch when the trigger point is reached with the needle.

This therapy can also ease hamstring strain and tennis elbow. Sharkey said she has also seen it ease some of the tremors for someone with Parkinson’s Disease.

For now, Sharkey is seeing about five to six patients weekly, through referrals and “mostly by word of mouth,” she says. Some people come for relief of post-surgery muscle stiffness, even for post-mastectomy pain and stiffness.

The assessment and physical therapy exercises may be covered by health insurance, but the needle treatments are not; the needle treatments cost $20.

For questions, or to schedule an appointment, call 413-773-3379 or visit: www.tbs-opt.com