Dry Needling is a technique used by many trained Physios to relieve pain caused by Trigger points, more commonly known as muscle knots. Acupuncture needles are placed directly into the trigger point or into tight bands in the muscle. Dry needling can be superficial which means it is only inserted a few millimetres into the muscle. It can also be deep using long needles of 70 to 80 millimetres. Commonly, the needles are inserted for a period of 10 minutes but shorter or longer times are used depending on the condition being treated and how well they are tolerated.
Is Dry needling the same as Acupuncture?
Dry needling is not the same as acupuncture. Acupuncture points relate to Chinese Medical theory and are found along meridians channels in the body. These channels are believed to relate to energy flowing through our body. Acupuncture is believed to improve the flow of energy through these channels. Dry needling is aimed specifically at muscle points and the aim is to relax the tension in the muscle.
What Does it Do?
The prime aim of dry needling is to reduce the pain that is coming from the trigger spot in the muscle and to release the tightness. However our clinical experience tells us that not every body with sore trigger spots in their muscles responds to needling. If you do respond well though, you should expect to experience immediate pain relief or relief within 3 days of treatment. Following treatment, you should notice an improvement in flexibility and you can move better.
Dry needling is normally less painful than trying to massage the knots out of the muscle. Some pain is normally felt as the needle goes in, just as you would feel when the therapists pushes on the trigger spot. However this should ease quickly over a 10 to 20 second period. If you are use to Dry Needling, the therapist may twist or move the needle to gain more of a relaxation effect on the muscle. An added bonus is that it can improve your sleep.
When is it Useful?
Dry Needling is best used when pressure on the trigger spot in the muscle reproduces the pain you are experiencing. Most commonly however it is part of an overall management strategy as a problem is rarely just muscle pain. Joints, nerves, movement patterns, strength and even the way we think and feel about our pain problem need to be addressed, particularly in chronic pain states.
Are There Risk Factors for Dry Needling?
Yes there are and the therapist should explain these to you. The most common risk involved damage to organs due to poor placement of the needles. Vulnerable areas are around you rib cage. Areas that have a large number of superficial blood vessels and nerves should not be needled. The front of the elbow and back of knee are examples. The therapist should ask about your general health, what medications you are taking and past operations. This information can influence the decision to suggest Dry Needling as a suitable treatment option.
If you would like to know more about dry needling, call the clinic on 8347 2043 and ask to speak to one of our Physiotherapists that have specific Dry Needling qualifications.