Musculoskeletal Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a technique that is fast gaining appreciation in the manual therapy realm. It involves multiple advances of an acupuncture-type needle into the ‘trigger point’ of a muscle. The aim is to achieve a twitch in the muscle, which is associated with reduced muscle tension and pain.

How does dry needling help?

Dry needling helps to reduce pressure on the nerve by releasing muscle shortening. It is now well researched that the twitch response in the muscle during dry needling is associated with the release of the body’s own anti-inflammatory mediators which may help relax and stop the tension on adjacent areas.

What are the benefits of dry needling?

The benefits include but are not limited to;
1. Acceleration and promotion of your body’s natural healing processes
2. Pain reduction
3. Increases blood flow and oxygenation
4. Decreases muscle tension
5. Improvements in range of motion
6. Improvements in recovery period

Which conditions can dry needling help manage?

The current literature states that there are a number of conditions which can be managed with the use of dry needling as a sole form of therapy or as an adjunctive form of therapy. These include but are not limited to;

  • Neck and lower back injuries
  • Nerve entrapments or dysfunctions
  • Myofascial pain and discomfort
  • Cervicogenic and tension headaches
  • Tendinopathic injuries
  • Ribcage related injuries
  • Temporomandibular (jaw) joint disorder
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis and golfer’s elbow
  • Runner’s and jumper’s knee
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Degenerative arthritic conditions
  • Fibromyalgia

What will I experience?

The needles used during the procedure are very thin and you may not feel the needle enter your skin. If the muscle being needled is tight or sensitive then you may feel a cramping or a twitch sensation. This is very short-lasting and patients soon learn to recognise this sensation as therapeutic as it is followed by a feeling of pain relief and muscle relaxation. Post treatment response may differ from patient to patient.

Are there any side effects?

The most common side effect is temporary muscle soreness after the treatment. Muscle soreness in the area of needling may be felt for up to 24-48 hours following the procedure and your treating practitioner will instruct you on how to minimise the soreness. There are other less common side effects such as bruising. Please consult with your treating practitioner if you have any further questions about side effects of dry needling.