Dry Needling is a treatment modality that is used by Physiotherapists worldwide. It is similar to Acupuncture in that needles are used to create a response in our muscles. Thin needles are used to treat 'trigger points,' in our muscles for the management of pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. Generally, the technique is minimally invasive, carries a low risk and is relatively pain free. Its effectiveness has been confirmed in various studies and systematic reviews, but many scientists are still unsure of the exact way that it works. Dry Needling is performed only by accredited professionals. It is a very safe technique with clean, individually packaged, single use sterilised needles used. The needles are very fine, and bruising or bleeding rarely occurs. There are two methods of Dry Needling; the deep technique is considered most effective and is commonly used in areas of large muscle bulk. The superficial technique is used in areas where there is a slightly higher risk of adverse effects.
What does dry needling actually do?
Dry Needling is commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation by targeting myofascial trigger points. Myofascial pain and trigger points are a common form of pain that can account for both acute and chronic symptoms, affecting up to 10% of the adult population. These trigger points are localised, highly irritable spots along a taut band of muscle fibres. When the trigger point becomes stimulated, it can elicit either a referred pain or a local twitch response.
When the myofascial trigger points are targeted with the dry needles, it helps to reduce pain, muscle tension, injury and dysfunction. It is considered a highly effective technique and often the pain relief is felt immediately as the muscles relax. One particular benefit of Dry Needling is that generally there is less pain both during and after treatment when compared to other trigger point release techniques, such as soft tissue release or massage. When the needles first penetrate the trigger point, an initial twitch or deep ache may be felt that slowly transitions to a light dull ache or nothing at all.
After the Dry Needling treatment, there is often little or no soreness. However, sometimes patients may experience a mild, dull ache up to 24 hours post treatment. Drinking lots of water, stretching, gentle movement, and heat can also help to reduce the duration of the soreness.
What can Dry Needling be used to treat?
Some of the more common conditions that can be treated with Dry Needling include;
· Neck pain
· Low back pain
· Chronic musculoskeletal conditions
What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Whilst there are similarities between acupuncture and Dry Needling, they are not the same thing. The needles that are used in acupuncture and Dry Needling are the same, however, the way in which they are used is very different. Dry Needling is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles, and acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques.
Dry Needling is a very safe and effective treatment option.
If you are interested to see if Dry Needling could work for you, please contact us to book an appointment with one of our Dry Needling qualified physiotherapists.