What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a treatment technique used by physiotherapists to treat the pain associated with muscle tension,
and can also be used to treat joint and tendon dysfunction.
Dry needling is usually used in conjunction with other treatment techniques, such as joint mobilisation and massage,
and involves the physiotherapist inserting needles into tight, irritable bands of muscle to help improve the patient’s symptoms.
Although dry needling involves the use of acupuncture needles, it is not the same as acupuncture,
as the physiotherapist will place the needles directly into muscle trigger points instead of following the traditional body map used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
What does it involve and how does it work?
After a thorough assessment of your condition, the physiotherapist will discuss whether or not dry needling is a suitable treatment for you,
and will then explain the treatment before inserting any needles. Because the needles used are very thin, you might not feel the needle as it goes through the skin,
however you may experience a “twitch response,” as the needle goes into the trigger point, causing the hypersensitive muscle to contract.
Some patients may also experience a temporary reproduction of pain, where the needle stimulates pain referral from an active trigger point.
The insertion of the needle and further manipulation that the physiotherapist may use, deactivates the tight and irritable parts of the muscles and as a result helps to reduce pain.
Who can benefit from dry needling?
Dry needling can be used to treat tightness and stiffness in a wide variety of injuries but may be particularly helpful for people with:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Tennis elbow
- Iliotibial band friction syndrome
- Knee pain