Dry Needling


What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a very successful medical treatment, which uses very thin needles (a dry needle) to treat pain and dysfunction caused by muscle problems, sinus trouble, headaches, and some nerve problems. It is not Acupuncture. Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine, whereas Dry Needling is strictly based on Western medicine principles and research.

Dry needling (also known as trigger point needling) is a scientifically proven form of treatment to treat trigger points. The needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at the myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point consists of multiple knots (adhesions), which are directly related to the pain cycle.

When the needle is inserted, very often a local twitch response is experienced. After a dry needling treatment the myofascial trigger point has been released, therefore reducing pain. Combining Dry Needling with other manual techniques including joint mobilisations, deep tissue massage and stretching helps to relieve pain and restore normal movement quicker. Our Chartered Physiotherapists will also provide you with postural advice and exercises to prevent these myofascial trigger points returning.


How does dry needling work? 

  • A local flow of blood is promoted to the injured part for healing.
  • The neural pathway that causes pain is inhibited or 'blocked' to some extent.
  • Endorphins (the body's natural painkillers) are released to ease the pain and inhibit the pain/inflammatory cycle.


What to expect

The benefits of trigger point release through dry needling include a decrease in the tightness and the pain associated with a particular muscle. Often times an immediate improvement is noted.

Dry needling is tolerable for most people. A limited amount of muscle soreness is to be expected for 1-2 days, after which the soreness resolves. Our Chartered Physiotherapists will choose a needle length and thickness appropriate to your condition and body size and then insert it through the skin at the appropriate place. You will feel a small pin-prick. Depending on the needle chosen you may feel a muscle ache and a muscle twitch. These are all good reactions and it means that you will get good relief from your symptoms. Because of the extreme slenderness of the needle, most people compare the sensations to a mild to moderate heaviness or tingling.

Dry needling is never used as an isolated treatment; it is followed by myofascial release and soft tissue work to minimize soreness and to maximize connective tissue flexibility. Other important aspects of musculoskeletal improvement of pain and function requires addressing possible contributing factors which includes the presence of joint or spinal dysfunction, postural imbalances, poor coordination of movement and poor posture and body mechanics with activities of daily living.


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