Dry needling is an effective and efficient technique for the sole purpose of the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. The approach is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles. It should not be confused with the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique of acupuncture. However, since the same filament needles are used in both dry needling and acupuncture, the confusion is understandable.
Dry Needling, while similar to Acupuncture, is not the same. Dry Needlings primary purpose is to reduce pain and restore normal function of localised muscles through the release of myofascial triggerpoints. In contrast, Acupuncture uses a system of energy (Qi) and specific points (meridians) to balance and treat medical conditions from an eastern medicine perspective. The needles themselves are the same, and we only use needles that are single-use and are in individual sleeves.
There are well documented mechanical and biochemical effects. Based on the numerous studies, we know that inserting a needle into myofascial trigger points can cause favourable biochemical changes, which assist in improving muscle function and reducing pain. Dry Needling assists with decreasing local muscular pain and improving function through the restoration of a muscle’s ability to lengthen and shorten normally by releasing myofascial trigger points. The needles create microtrauma at the local site, and in response, an inflammatory cascade of healing begins restoring normal function to the muscle.
Not much if anything. The needles are inserted using a guide tube and a fast application which means you almost feel nothing when the needle is inserted. There are many different techniques of dry needling, and your practitioner will use the best method specific to you and your experience with dry needling, some methods are more intense than others, but all are as effective.
Every form of treatment does carry risks, and your practitioner will discuss and explain all risks before any treatment is performed. In general, the risk of Dry Needling is low; however, it is not a technique that is suitable for everyone. When Dry Needling is performed, single-use, sterile needles are always used and disposed of immediately after use into a certified sharps container. After your Dry Needling treatment, you may experience mild discomfort in the local area that was needled similar to post-exercise soreness; this is the inflammatory response that initiates the tissue healing, it is temporary.
We recommend avoiding strenuous exercise immediately after Dry Needling. You to allow the body to have time to recover and to maximise the healing cascade events that were just initiated. However, if it is a requirement of your sport or training program, you can discuss this with your practitioner, and they will be best placed to advise you.