As a treatment, dry needling involves the gentle insertion of filament needles into the painful or knotted part of a muscle: commonly referred to as a myofascial trigger point. The aim of dry needling is to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with these trigger points by promoting muscle relaxation, tissue rejuvenation, and restoring any wider imbalances caused by tight or constricted muscular tissue.
In a dry needling session, each needle is gently inserted into the tense muscle at the trigger point, carefully manipulated to instigate the therapeutic effect, and then removed after a short period. The process may be repeated several times throughout the course of a single session.
Each needle is incredibly fine–ranging from 0.16 to 0.30 millimetres in diameter–and individually packaged, sterile, and single-use. It is rare for any bleeding or bruising to occur at the point of insertion.
Each dry needle creates a small and precise ‘lesion’ in the tissue of the muscle at the point of insertion. The lesion is interpreted as a minor injury by the brain, which triggers a sequence of events to replace or repair the ‘damaged’ muscle with new, healthy tissue. This is referred to as the ‘twitch response’.
Once the twitch response is elicited, the muscle fibres in the trigger point begin to relax, any inflammation begins to gradually reduce, circulation improves and the muscle can commence the process of returning to normal function.
These responses – enhanced circulation, reduced inflammation and relaxed muscular tissue – make dry needling a particularly effective addition to a broader rehabilitation treatment plan. Dry needling plays a key role in the process that then allows a patient to rehabilitate injury through normal movement, retraining, and specific exercise prescription.
At Pure Physio, dry needling is commonly used in conjunction with a range of other hands-on treatment modalities to better facilitate your recovery.
Dry needling is an efficient and effective treatment for various muscular dysfunctions. When employed alongside additional manual therapies as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, dry needling can contribute to:
- Increased energy levels.
- Greater mobility and flexibility.
- Better sleep and an enhanced sense of general wellbeing.
- Improved muscle activation.
- Enhanced rehabilitation response following surgery.
After assessment and consultation, our specialists determine whether dry needling will feature as part of your individual treatment plan.
What should I expect during my consultation?
At your first session, our Physiotherapists evaluate your areas of pain and discomfort. Before any dry needling therapy takes place, we determine any myofascial trigger points using non-invasive evaluation techniques. Once your trigger points are located, we’ll develop an individualised treatment plan that may or may not include dry needling as an approach.
Generally speaking, there is no significant sensation during dry needling, although each individual responds differently. Healthy muscles typically feel very little. If the muscle contains a trigger point, or is overly sensitive or tight, the result can be a brief cramp-like ‘twitch’ sensation. This ‘twitch’ response is caused by the sudden slight contraction of the muscle. While the twitch response may be slightly uncomfortable initially, it instigates an important therapeutic reaction in the body (learn more by reading ‘Why dry needling works’, above).
Interested in an assessment?
Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute injury, muscle spasms, or muscle pattern imbalances caused by other injuries or issues. As a service, it is effective at the beginning of a treatment program to help alleviate initial pain and supplement wider treatments.
The positive effects of dry needling may include decreased pain, increased flexibility and mobility. It can also assist in cases of:
- Pins and needles.
- Improved muscle firing to facilitate normal muscle function.
Dry needling is also effective in addressing a wide range of acute and chronic conditions that cause pain or hinder mobility, and is suitable for treating a number of musculoskeletal issues, including:
- Back and neck pain.
- Muscular tightness or tears.
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints).
- Sporting injuries.
At Pure Physio, dry needling is used in conjunction with a range of other hands-on treatment techniques to better facilitate your recovery. While dry needling can be highly effective in relieving muscular pain initially, myofascial trigger points can be caused by compensatory movements due to other musculoskeletal issues. Our specialists conduct a comprehensive assessment to develop the most appropriate treatment plan for you, to help you get back to your best, quickly.