Dry needling is a therapeutic technique that involves the insertion of fine needles into trigger points in the muscles to relieve pain and improve function.
It is commonly used by physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals to treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a technique that involves the insertion of fine needles into trigger points, which are areas of tight muscle fibers that can cause pain, stiffness, and restricted movement. The needles used in dry needling are similar to those used in acupuncture, but the technique and purpose are different.
During a dry needling session, the clinician will insert a sterile, single-use needle into the trigger point and manipulate it to elicit a local twitch response, which is a brief contraction of the muscle fiber. This response helps to release tension in the muscle and promote healing.
Benefits of Dry Needling:
Dry needling can provide several benefits for patients with musculoskeletal conditions, including:
Pain relief: Dry needling can help reduce pain and stiffness by releasing tension in the muscles.
Improved range of motion: By releasing tension in the muscles, dry needling can help improve range of motion and mobility.
Faster healing: Dry needling can promote healing by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the affected area.
Reduced reliance on medication: Dry needling can be a drug-free alternative to pain management for some patients.
Potential Side Effects of Dry Needling:
While dry needling is generally considered safe, there are some potential side effects that patients should be aware of, including:
Soreness: Patients may experience some soreness or discomfort in the area where the needles were inserted, which should resolve within a few days.
Bleeding: In rare cases, dry needling may cause minor bleeding or bruising at the insertion site.
Infection: As with any procedure that involves the use of needles, there is a risk of infection if proper hygiene practices are not followed.
What to Expect During a Dry Needling Session:
During a dry needling session, the clinician will begin by conducting a thorough evaluation to determine the location of the trigger points and the appropriate course of treatment. The clinician will then insert the needles into the trigger points and manipulate them to elicit a local twitch response.
Patients may feel some discomfort or aching sensation during the treatment, but it should not be unbearable.
After the session, patients may experience some soreness or discomfort in the area where the needles were inserted, but this should resolve within a few days. The clinician may provide additional exercises or stretches to help maximise the benefits of the treatment.