What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a treatment modality used by physiotherapist for pain and movement issues directly related with muscle tension and trigger points in order to address dysfunction in movement patterns. Dry needling is usually used as an adjunctive treatment method, as part of a larger treatment plan, with the use of hands on massage, stretching and exercise to assist in the rehab process. Dry needling involves the physiotherapist inserting a single use, sterile needle into areas of tightness/trigger points in the muscle and tissue in order to increase blood flow, decrease tightness and reduce local and referred pain.
Dry needling vs Acupuncture
Despite the fact that dry needling uses the same needles as acupuncture, it is not the same. Acupuncture follows the traditional body map used in Chinese medicine to work on inner balance, qi and energy flows, whereas in dry needling, needles are precisely inserted into specific areas of tightness in a muscle.
How does dry needling work?
Firstly the physiotherapy will go through a thorough assessment of your injury and discuss whether dry needling is an appropriate treatment method for you.
When a muscle is overused, the muscle fibres do not get a sufficient blood supply, meaning they are lacking oxygen and nutrients that allow the muscle to go back into its normal resting state, making the nerves more sensitised around this area of tissue. Dry needling works to increase blood flow to supply these trigger points with the oxygen and nutrients and help to release tension. When dry needling, some patients may experience a twitch response or a spasm of the muscle. This is a good indication that the muscle is reacting to the treatment. Some patients will feel immediate improvements in pain and mobility following dry needling, however, others may take a few sessions to feel this relief.
Conditions treated with dry needling.
Dry needling helps to relieve pain and tightness, and increase range of motion in a wide variety of injuries. Common conditions treated using dry needling include:
⁃Neck and lower back pain
⁃Shoulder pain (rotator cuff strain, frozen shoulder, impingement)
⁃Knee pain (osteoarthritis, patellofemoral pain syndrome/runners knee)
⁃Carpal tunnel syndrome
As always if you have any questions about this topic feel free to reach out to our team of Physiotherapist at Functional Performance & Rehab – (02) 9160 0730 or email email@example.com