Trigger Point Dry Needling.

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I just spent a weekend in sunny Arizona.  I was inside the whole weekend!  Some of you may think think that is horrible.  But I was learning!  I am now certified to perform Dry Needling.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a physical therapy technique to help reduce pain and other symptoms.  In dry needling, a physical therapist uses acupuncture needles to stimulate an immune response in a certain area. We start by inserting an acupuncture needle or needles around the trigger point, and then along the myotomal (nerves responsible for muscle contraction) and/or dermatomal (nerves responsible for sensation of pain) pattern toward the spine.  Needles may also be inserted at the spine. The action of these needles creates a lesion in the surrounding tissues, stimulating the body’s own immune response.  An increase in blood flow to the area results from the needling!

It is important to note that acupuncture and dry needling are different. Acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and has a focus on correcting Xi.  Dry Needling is based on scientific neurological principles.

Joel with Dry Needles

Joel with Dry Needles

Be sure to call and set up an appointment in either Redmond (425-883-9630) or Mercer Island (425-883-9631).  For further information check out Advantage PT on the Web!



Physical Therapy Patients Return to Competition

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In a physical therapy practice, we see many types of injuries.  Some people want to return to pain free living and working, but others want to return to competitive athletics and/or aggressive fitness styles.  From runners to basketball players; tennis players to swimmers; and many others, the goal of physical therapy is to return to the sport they love.  In the last couple of years, crossfit has become the new competitive sport that a lot of people are joining up and doing.

Crossfit is a very strenous workout that stresses “functional movement.” It is widely thought of as an intense workout, but not many people know that there are local competitions.  Advantage PT has 2 clinics (Mercer Island, WA and Redmond, WA).  Working at the Mercer Island clinic, I see many athletes from the local Crossfit gym Mercer Island Crossfit. Recently a husband and wife team of former patients competeted at a local event called the Resolution Revolution 2. Stone Way Crossfit hosted the event for “couples” (any male/female partner).


These 2 patients were exceptional athletes, had some injuries, and became better athletes after following a program of physical therapy.  They were seen for different body parts, but the activies they do require multiple body parts.  Here are a few pictures from the event!

jared press (2) meg clean (2)meg du (2)

Ankle Support: Taping or Bracing


English: Sprained Ankle

Image via Wikipedia

As a Physical Therapist, people often turn to me for advice.  Since there is a basketball court across the hall from my office, I get a lot of questions regarding ankle stability and support.  Athletic trainers from high school to pros tape athlete’s ankles to help stability.  Most people have difficulty taping themselves and/or finding another person capable of doing the taping.  I am often asked if a brace is as good as tape to stabilize the ankle and either prevent or deal with an ankle sprain.

Let’s start with some facts.

  • The National Institute of Health states that there are more than 25,000 ankle sprains on a given day in the United States.
  • Inversion sprains are the most common sprain (straining the outside of the ankle)
  • Inversion sprains can be linked to the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and/or the calcaneofibular ligament (2 most common ligaments affected)
  • Garrick and Requa found lace-up ankle braces were more effective than taping on football players
  • Sitler et al. found that taping resulted in 5.2 sprains per 1000 athletes and bracing resulted in 1.6 sprains per 1000 athletes
  • Taping allows for individualization
  • Tape can loosen up between 10-30 minutes after application due to sweat

Ankle sprains are common maladies in athletic endeavors.  The research shows that braces are definitely more effective in prevention.  Taping may be more beneficial in the acute stage of an ankle sprain due to the fact that a therapist or trainer can individualize the taping to position each individual foot/ankle complex depending on which ankle ligament is most affected by the injury.  If the injury is still in the acute phase, it is recommended to see a physical therapist to diagnose and treat the primary effects of inflammation and have a successful and quick return to participation.

If you are susceptible to ankle injuries, I recommend purchasing a quality brace that laces up the front and has figure 8 straps for added support.  This is usually called an ASO Brace (Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis) and there are many different companies that make them. If the injury occurred recently, physical therapy can help speed the healing process and decrease the inflammation in the region.