What is dry needling?
Dry needling uses small sterile acupuncture needles to relax myofascial trigger points (more commonly known as “knots”).
Acupuncture is a different procedure which is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and aims to restore the balance of Qi throughout the body by placing needles along meridians.
Unlike acupuncture, dry needling is based on Western Medicine and involves a clear physiotherapy assessment before and after treatment.
How does dry needling work?
Dry needling works by desensitising and deactivating myofascial trigger point. When a needle is inserted into an active trigger point, a twitch response can occur which causes an increase in blood flow and the area of tight muscle to relax. This process will help to stimulate a healing response, reduce pain and restore optimal muscle function.
Often the therapeutic effects of dry needling are noticed immediately.
What conditions is it used for?
Dry needling can be used on many areas of the body. It can be helpful for any condition that involves tight, shortened or tender muscles. Because dry needling helps to improve muscle function it can therefore aid in reducing referred pain, improving muscle activation and improve joint mobility.
What does dry needling feel like?
The needles used are very thin and are often not felt when they enter the skin. When the target trigger point is located, a brief twitch/mild cramping sensation may be felt prior to relation of the muscle.
After dry needling the area treated should feel relaxed and may have a tired feeling due to the initiation of a healing response.
Is it safe?
Dry needling is a very safe procedure and is commonly used by physiotherapists. Some mild muscle soreness can occur temporarily after treatment. Other less common side effects will be explained by your treating physiotherapist.