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Functional Dry Needling

Functional dry needling, also called dry needling, is a therapy for muscles and other soft tissues that are tight or not working properly. During this procedure, therapists place a special needle through your skin and muscle, directly into the painful area – this is sometimes called a trigger point. This helps release tightness, “soften” the trigger point, reduce pain and increase movement.

Functional dry needling often is used with other physical therapy techniques, including exercises or other treatments based on your evaluation.

Possible side effects include soreness and bruising, and usually do not last long. Typically, several sessions are needed for the best results.

Functional dry needling helps those with:

  • Tendonitis such as tennis or golfer’s elbow, knee or heel tendon issues
  • Specific types of headaches
  • Muscle strains
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Joint stiffness

Functional dry needling is provided by Justin Hash, PT, at Bryan LifePointe Campus, and Heather Kalkwarf, PT, at Bryan West Campus. For questions or more information, please contact Heather Kalkwarf, 402-481-9445.

justin hash

Justin Hash, physical therapist

Justin Hash, PT, MTC, CSCS, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and earned his physical therapy degree at Mayo School of Health Sciences in Rochester, Minn. He completed his certification in manual therapy from the University of St. Augustine. He has expertise in treating spine pain, orthopedic and sports injuries and hand injuries, using tools that include creating custom splints, functional dry needling, gait analysis and creating custom foot orthotics. He treats injuries with a focus on returning to work. 

Provides therapy at: Bryan LifePointe Campus

heather kalkwarf

Heather Kalkwarf, physical therapist

Heather Kalkwarf, PT, DPT, received her bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University in exercise science and her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is certified in level one functional dry needling and loves seeing the relief and functional improvements patients have after treatment. Heather is excited to be a part of the Bryan Medical Center rehabilitation team, and looks forward to helping clients restore their mobility.

Provides therapy at: Bryan West Campus

Melissa Gragg, MPT Melissa Gragg, MPT

Melissa earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Nebraska in Kearney, Nebraska, and a master of arts degree in physical therapy from Rockhurst University. She has worked in many settings, including acute care, acute rehab, outpatient rehab, home health, pediatric clinic, public school and skilled rehab. She has extensive experience in Nervo-based therapies such as CVA, TBIY, and SCI. She also is certified in level one functional dry needling. 

Provides physical therapy at: Merrick Medical Center


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