What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling utilises a solid, very fine (.20 - .40mm) needle (as is used in the practice of acupuncture). It relies on the stimulation of specific reactions in the target tissue for its therapeutic effect. This has found to be effective for relief of pain in muscles and connective tissue.
Is Dry Needling similar to Acupuncture?
Dry needling is formed on the grounds of acupuncture and uses thin needles to give similar effect and is less painful than the traditional acupuncture. Physiotherapists are not licensed Acupuncturists however, they can use dry needling under the scope of their practice. Trigger point needling is used by physiotherapists on Myofascial trigger points which are also termed as hyperirritable spots in a skeletal muscle. It is termed as intramuscular stimulation and works effectively in conjunction with other forms of traditional physiotherapy treatment.
How does Dry Needling work?
When a needle is successfully inserted into a trigger point it causes a local twitch response. This normalises blood flow and allows proper cellular function to return. Chemicals are then released in the body to help repair and rebuild the damaged tissue in the area.
Is it painful?
Most patients would not feel the needle however, some may complain about cramping or a prick sensation, this is however normal when eliciting a twitch response.
Therapeutic effects include:
- Improved range of motion
- Increased blood flow
- Decreased pain
- Overall improved tissue health
- General relaxation effects
It is a safe and effective way of treating neuromuscular problems because the physiotherapist has a sound knowledge of the muscles and structures. Often you could see an immediate effect with treatment.
When could Dry Needling be helpful?
It can be used in a variety of musculoskeletal problems where muscles are the primary cause of pain for example:
- Low Back Pain
- Shoulder and Elbow Pain
- Neck Pain
- Postural Pain in the Upper Back
- Knee Pain
- Hip/Buttock Pain
- Post-surgical Rehabilitation
All our physiotherapists are trained in dry needling. Dry needling may be used along with other forms of treatment. Ask your physiotherapist for more information about dry needling.