What’s Dry Needling All About?

Michelle Labonia

Dry needling is a skilled treatment technique that uses a thin filiform needle to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of musculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.

How does it work?

Dry Needling works by a complex series of neurological events:

  • When a needle is used on an active trigger point (a contracted segment of a muscle, also known as a ‘knot’), it can illicit a ‘twitch’ response which is followed by an immediate decrease in tension throughout that whole band of muscle.
  • Dry Needling has an effect on the level of the spinal cord that corresponds to the area being needled. This helps to block incoming pain signals and can provide effective pain relief
  • Dry Needling also increases blood flow to the pain region which provides essential nutrients to help damaged tissues heal and clear out toxic waste products.

Benefits of Dry Needling;

Dry Needling can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions including:

  • Back and neck pain – acute and chronic conditions
  • Headaches
  • Muscle strains
  • Sciatic pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Shoulder pain – Rotator cuff, Impingement syndromes
  • Knee pain – Patellofemoral, meniscal/ligament tears
  • Tendinopathy – RSI – i.e. tennis elbow, hamstring tendon
  • General muscular tightness and cramps

What will you feel?

With active trigger points you may get a ‘twitch’ response followed by a deep dull ache that eases within 2-3 minutes. You may have a dull ache around the area being needled for 24-48 hrs as the muscle goes through the stages of healing. You should feel an immediate change in your symptoms, i.e. decreased muscle tone, decreased pain and increased joint movement.

Dry Needling is usually only a part of your treatment session as it is most commonly used in conjunction with other ‘hands on’ treatment techniques.

If you have a painful ‘niggle’ that just doesn’t seem to want to go away why not call the clinic and ask one of our experienced physiotherapists about dry needling and how it could be of benefit to you.