Dry needling is a treatment technique that involves inserting a needle into a muscle to alleviate pain and assist with muscle function. Dry needling is especially useful for treating dysfunctional soft tissue such as relieving myofascial trigger points (knots) in muscles and can be especially helpful with chronic pain. Our physiotherapists have undergone extensive dry needling training and are experts at their application and treatment effect.
What is dry needling?
Dry needling involves using sterile, disposable single-use-needles inserted through the skin into muscle tissue. Generally, the patient will not feel the needles at all or will occasionally feel some very mild discomfort. The dry needles with be left in for between 2-15 minutes depending on your condition, before being carefully removed and disposed of in a sharps container.
How does it work?
Areas of your muscles can become overworked or tight, which can lead to the development of knotted areas (known as myofascial trigger points). These knots are not getting adequate blood supply which means they are not receiving adequate oxygen and nutrients to the area and can become painful and sensitised.
Dy needling can be even more effective than massage in increasing blood-flow to the trigger-point area. Increasing blood-flow to the muscle improves the muscles oxygen level and helps remove wastes that were otherwise sensitising the painful muscle tissue. Additionally, dry needling can stimulate the production of natural pain killer chemicals in the body by using spinal nerve pathways, helping to reduce your pain.
Is Dry Needling the same as Acupuncture?
No. Although both Acupuncture and Dry needling use the placement of needles into muscles for therapeutic effect, the underlying theory and clinical reasoning behind the needle placement is very different. In traditional Chinese medicine Acupuncture is used to help balance the body’s energy or “Qi”. The factors determining the needles placement is based on ancient ideas around meridian lines and ashi points.
Physiotherapists make scientific clinical diagnosis due to having a deeper knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics and neurophysiology. Physiotherapists use any number of treatment techniques including massage, mobilisation or dry needling as a clinical tool to reduce myofascial tension and improve musculoskeletal function. Dry needling is also part of a growing body of scientific peer reviewed rigorous clinical studies that shows potential benefits when used as part of an overall treatment strategy.
Is it safe?
Dry needling is a completely safe procedure when done by our qualified experts. Our physiotherapists will always run through questions ruling out any contraindications to dry needling. Examples of common things we check for include ensuring a patient isn’t on strong blood thinning agents or has a needle phobia!
When will dry needling be used?
Our physiotherapists are expert clinicians and know when you will benefit most from dry needling instead of, or alongside other treatment. We often use dry needling in combination with exercise, massage, stretching, and mobilisation because it enhances the reparative effects of the other treatments, and enables you to repair or strengthen with reduced muscle pain and stiffness. Finding the right combination of treatments that works for you is our speciality, and if dry needling is part of your treatment, we’re the ones to do it.
Dry needling is particularly effective at relieving pain in the following conditions
- Chronic lower back pain and sciatica (link)
- Rotator Cuff Injuries (link)
- Myofascial Pain Syndromes
- Chronic Headaches
- Quadriceps and Hamstring Muscle strains
Call us on 02 8964 4086 to talk with our dry needling specialists about how we can help with your pain.