What is Dry Needling

Dry needling can also be referred to clinical or western acupuncture (but is in no way your traditional acupuncture). Solid acupuncture needles are used to enter the skin and tissue below. Dry needling is about restoring and healing the muscle back to its full function and helps any muscular skeletal problems. The mechanisms demonstrated so far by which dry needling has an effect include the; promotion of local healing, the reduction of pain in the segment where the needles are inserted, a reduction of pain in the whole body, restore muscle function, have a calming effect an improvement of well-being and that dry needling is used to inactivate myofascial trigger points.

Here are the basic steps of Myofasical Dry Needling:

  1. When using dry needling techniques for the treatment of trigger points, the therapist will palpate the target muscle for a taut band (or area of tense muscles) thereby confirming the trigger point that needs to be treated.
  2. The needle is typically in a tube and it is fixed with the non-needling hand against the trigger point using a pincer grip or flat palpation depending on the location and orientation of the muscle. A palpation is when the therapist feels with their fingers or hands to pinpoint areas of tenderness. With the needling hand, the needle is gently loosened from the tube and the top of the needle is tapped or flicked by the therapist, allowing the needle to penetrate the skin.
  3. With dry needling, the needle is guided toward the trigger point until the therapist feels resistance or notices that the patient has a local twitch response. A local twitch response is a spinal cord reflex that creates an involuntary contraction that can be triggered by a snapping palpitation or penetration with a needle. When the patient has an involuntary twitch response that suggests that the needle has hit the right spot.
  4. When the needle has located the trigger point, as suggested by the local twitch response, the therapist will focus on this specific area or other neighbouring areas.
  5. The needle can stay in place for a certain period of time or can be redirected back toward the layer of tissue directly under the skin without taking it out of the skin and then back towards the trigger point. This can continue for a few minutes until local twitch responses have stopped or the patient can no longer tolerate the needling at that site.
  6. When the needle is withdrawn from the skin, pressure is then applied directly to the skin over the insertion in order to aid in the prevention of possible swelling or soreness.

Does it hurt

I personally would say no but everyone thinks differently. Generally, the needle insertion is not felt; the shutterstock_317137001-200x300 What is Dry Needlinglocal twitch response or sudden slight contraction of the muscle may provoke a very brief pain response. This has been described as an electric shock or a cramping sensation. A therapeutic response occurs with the elicitation of local twitch responses and that is a good and desirable reaction.

During treatment, and depending on the dry needling technique used, patients commonly experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling or relaxation. Following this technique some muscle soreness may be felt up to 24-48 hrs. Dry needling is actually less painful than your therapist constantly working on your Trigger point with the thumb or elbow. I think the because we use needles people think it will be painful but you will be pleasantly surprised.

Is dry needling acupuncture

Dry needling is not acupuncture and too many times I hear people say it is. Yes it is similar to acupuncture in the sense we use acupuncture needles. But acupuncture can treat the liver, spleen, meridian points and acupuncture points. Acupuncture requires years and years of training, Dry needling is working specifically on soft tissue (muscle/Trigger Points) and treating muscular skeletal problems.

Why would you do dry needling

If you are suffering from any acute injuries, muscle spasms or muscle pattern imbalances then you could give dry needling ago. The dry needling is used at the start of the treatment to help reduce the pain cycle and then massage is used after to help further to your injuries. Dry needling is very effective and can have quick results.

So if you haven’t tried Dry Needling yet why not give it a go, Book in a session with me today!

If you are still unsure ask me at your next visit to the clinic and I can talk to you about it further.