What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is a very successful medical treatment used to treat pain and dysfunction caused by muscle problems, headaches and some nerve problems. It is very effective for treating myofascial trigger points. Myofascial trigger points are tender nodules within bands of muscle and may cause muscle weakness and stiffness, reduced movement and local or referred pain.
You will be given an information leaflet before you decide to have dry needling that will explain the procedure. A very thin needle is inserted directly into the trigger point in the muscle. You will feel a pin prick sensation. You may also feel a muscle ache and a muscle twitch. These are normal and good sensations. A local twitch response is the key element in deep dry needling. It signals that the needle has reached that part of the trigger point that will be most therapeutically effective.
How does it work?
It works by changing the way your body senses pain and by helping the body heal stubborn muscle spasm associated with trigger points. Needling causes the release of opioids; the body’s natural painkillers which help ease the pain. With a needle the physiotherapist can work on muscles that might be difficult to reach with a finger or an elbow.
What to expect?
It may be a sore treatment technique for some people. You may have a little bruising around the needle site and some people can feel tired after the treatment. It is used in conjunction with soft tissue work, stretching and rehabilitative exercises. Afterwards you will feel reduced tightness and pain in the muscle.
What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Both techniques use very fine, sterile needles. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese Medicine using meridians (channels) in the body and acupuncture points whereas dry needling uses muscle trigger points.
Acupuncture works mainly with the energy flow of the body called the Chi. It is believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine that if the flow of energy in the body is blocked, certain systems start breaking down and giving trouble. The purpose of Acupuncture is to clear these blockages, allowing the energy to flow, thus restoring proper balance to the body’s systems.
Trigger Point Dry Needling, on the other hand, works primarily with the physiological aspect of a muscle. It is used for the treatment of myofascial pain syndromes and dysfunction due to trigger points, tension areas and muscle spasm.
Dry Needling can be used for:
Tight muscles containing trigger points such as muscles in the shoulder and neck area, the trapezius is a common area needled with excellent results
- The very small muscles in the neck region that often get very tight
- Multifidus in the lower back area
- Reoccurring hamstring injuries
- Tight calves
- Trigger points in the rotator cuff muscles
- Tennis elbow – loosening the tight extensor muscles on the forearm.
- And many more ….