Many DCs offer a number of services beyond spinal adjustments and manipulations.
SPINE-health shares that some of the most common include offering dietary and supplemental advice, providing massage services, and treating patients with ultrasound, hydrotherapy, and electrical muscle stimulation.
Another service that some chiropractors are deciding to add to their current practices is dry needling. What makes this particular service a complementary treatment to chiropractic care?
Dry needling benefits
Healthline explains that dry needling, which is the art of inserting fine, thin needles inserted at specific points, offers a couple of distinct natural, drugless benefits for sports injuries and chronic health conditions like fibromyalgia. The first is relief from pain and stiffness in the muscles.
This is supported by research as, according to one literature review published in the journal Physical Therapy Reviews in August of 2014, many short-term studies have connected dry needling targeted at trigger points with lower levels of pain. However, this research also states that more high-quality studies need to be conducted to discover whether this decreased level of pain continues over time and, if so, the frequency, duration, and intensity of dry needling that would provide the most optimal results.
Healthline shares that a secondary benefit of dry needling is increased range of motion and improved flexibility, and research confirms this as well. For instance, one article published in the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy states that dry needling provides “restoration of range of motion and muscle activation patterns,” both locally and widespread.
Based on positive reports such as these, you may be considering adding this service to your practice. If so, here are three factors to think about first.
1. The size of your potential client base
One of the first questions you want to ask yourself before adding dry needling to your chiropractic practice is whether you have a client base that is large enough to make offering this service worth the time and effort.
If you’re not sure, ask your current clientele whether they’d participate in dry needling if you were to offer it. You may also want to check with other dry needling providers in your area to see what portion of their business is made up of this type of service.
2. Your ability to provide the service
Another factor to consider is your ability to provide the service. Specifically, do you have the expertise and training necessary to provide dry needling to your clients? If not, are you willing to obtain the training or would you have to hire someone else to provide it?
If you have to hire someone else to offer this particular service, this requires also thinking about:
- How much business you could provide this person and whether it’s enough work for them to be full or part-time.
- Whether you’d hire this person as an employee or if they’d act as an independent contractor, making them responsible for their own taxes and insurances.
- Any potential insurance and/or liability considerations as dictated by your current insurance company or any additional insurances that might have to be obtained.
3. Logistical implementation issues
A third factor to consider before deciding to implement dry needling is how it would work for your practice logistically. For instance, would you need a treatment room that is solely used for dry needling services or could you use one of your current adjustment rooms?
Also, how would you schedule dry needling patients, especially the ones who want chiropractic services too? Would your receptionist handle both? What about the billing? Would dual-service clients be billed using the same system and program or would your current software and program require separate billings?
If, based on your answers, you decide that dry needling would be a complementary service to your chiropractic practice, and that you’re willing to handle the logistics of incorporating it, here are a few tips that can potentially make its implementation more successful:
- Market your new dry needling services so that your current and prospective patients know that you now offer it. Do this both online (via your website, social media, and patient newsletters or emails) as well as in your office (with banners, informational pamphlets, and simply by talking to the patients that you feel this service could benefit most).
- Offer incentives for first-time dry needling patients to increase their desire to try this new service. You may even decide to offer referral-based incentives, enticing your current patients to reach out to their family and friends so they sign up as well.
- Hold informational meetings and workshops to help your community better understand the value in dry needling, as well as to answer any questions they may have about its process or how it could benefit them specifically.