What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a highly effective treatment that involves inserting acupuncture needles into a muscle to create a local twitch response, releasing tight bands of muscle, decreasing trigger point activity and increasing range of movement. This technique has been shown to improve and normalise the bio-mechanical and electrical components of the muscle. The normalisation of these components helps with decreasing pain, decreasing muscle tension, improving range of motion, promoting healing, and restoring normal function.
What are Trigger Points?
A trigger point is a tight band of muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch and/or refer pain to other parts of the body. When an injury occurs from repetitive use, poor posture, or acute trauma; injury or damage occurs to the muscles. The muscles will then go into a protective state of contraction and create taut bands to help prevent further damage to the tissue. The contracture increases inflammation in the area limiting blood flow and oxygen further contributing to the injury. This leads to fibrosis and scarring which limits the muscle’s ability to function by limiting the lengthening and shortening of the muscle. This limited function contributes to pain in the area, referred pain, or nerve compression.
What conditions can be treated using dry needling?
A large variety of musculoskeletal issues can be treated with dry needling. When paired with physical therapy treatments of manual therapy and exercise, dry needling can speed up recovery time and allow you to return to your normal daily activities.
Acute and chronic pain
Neck and back pain
Shoulder, hip, and knee pain
Decreased range of motion
How does dry needling differ from acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on ancient theories and traditional Chinese medicine that focuses on the flow of Qi or energy along meridians for treatment of conditions.
Dry needling is based on western medicine and the scientific study of the musculoskeletal system and neuroanatomy. Dry needling penetrates the skin and is inserted into the muscle to elicit a local twitch response stimulating and relaxing the muscle, where acupuncture does not.
Is Dry Needling Painful?
Most patients report feeling little to no discomfort during dry needling treatments. Some discomfort may occur during the session when the needles are inserted into the muscle to elicit a spontaneous twitch response. This is comparable to a muscle cramp or ache. The muscles may be sore after the initial procedure, similar to following an intense workout. As the muscle function is restored within 24-28 hours, the soreness dissipates. Muscle soreness can be treat at home by applying heat or ice and drinking plenty of fluids.