What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is the process where a fine sterile acupuncture needle is inserted into the muscle, tendon, or tissue. In the muscle, the aim of dry needling is to target a myofascial trigger point; a taut band of fibres within the muscle that may have developed from overuse or injury, and can contribute to discomfort, pain, or limited range of motion.
What are the benefits?
Triggering a local twitch response in the muscle has been shown to reduce the nociceptive (pain) substances in the muscle and decrease pain.
Each dry needle causes a very small and precise 'lesion' in the muscle. This lesion is interpreted as a minor injury by the brain and triggers a sequence of events to replace and repair the damaged tissue and prompt healing and remodelling. Circulation also increases at the local area, the twitch response encourages the muscles fibres to return to their resting length, and the muscle can begin to return to normal length and function.
Is Dry Needling painful?
The initial insertion of the needle usually does not cause discomfort, but dry needling in the muscle often results in a 'twitch' response (which is a desired response) and can cause a brief painful reaction before often becoming dull.
Are there any side effects?
In some cases the treated area can be tender for up to 72 hours and usually feels similar to the delayed onset muscle soreness you would experience after a strenuous exercise session. This is considered normal and can be reduced with cold/heat and gentle stretching. Minor and localised bruising may also occur and you may feel tired after treatment. This is a normal response that should only last an hour or two after treatment.
Dry needling can be a very effective addition to a broader physiotherapy treatment plan. Dry needling can play a key role in allowing a patient to restore normal movement so they can then rehabilitate injury, retrain movements, or increase strength, and is best administered alongside specific exercise prescription. Have a chat with Mel today to see if Dry Needling is the right fit for you and your needs.