This is a technique of gently inserting a very fine gauge needle (same as acupuncture needles) into specific trigger points. A trigger point feels just like a tight nodule within the muscle (a knot), and sends pain to another area when pressed. The aim is to release myofascial pain in these muscles that these trigger points cause. Traditionally, massage has been the main method to alleviate these knots, but Dry Needling can effectively do the same thing. It is often quicker and more efficient than Deep Tissue Massage.
How does it work?
Dry Needling has the effect of increasing blood supply to the needled area which causes an influx of oxygen. This removes the toxins that cause pain within the nerve endings in the muscle.
How does Dry Needling differ to Acupuncture?
A lot of people ask if it is the same as Acupuncture. Well, Acupuncture is an Ancient Chinese practice that involves redirecting the flow of energy or Qi in order to relieve muscle pain. In contrast, Dry Needling is based on western medicine using anatomy and physiology to determine trigger point locations. It is not surprisingly, often these trigger points line up with meridians in the body. Unlike Acupuncture, Dry needling is administered by a range of health professionals (such as us Chiropractors) that are specifically trained in this technique.
What does Dry Needling treat?
Dry needling treats a number of stubborn musculoskeletal disorders.
• Neck, back, hip and arm pain due to myofascial pain syndrome
• Bursitis of the shoulder or supraspinatus tendonitis
• Tennis or Golfer’s elbow
• Headaches & migraines
• Jaw pain (TMJ syndrome)
• Leg pain, sciatica, or calf tightness
• Scar tissue
Are there any side effects to Dry Needling?
Initially when applying the needle to an active trigger point, we often elicit a twitch response in the muscle. For instance, if the needle is in the correct part of the muscle, it will have the best therapeutic benefit to the patient. However, the needle can feel weird to some people, and it often makes people jump the first time they experience it. Some patients may experience mild muscle soreness, and slight bruising over the treated area. Additionally, there maybe some activated pain into the zone of referred pain, but this typically only lasts for a day or so. As a result, depending on the amount of soreness, some further treatment may be required such as applying heat or ice to the area, and stretching or gentle massage.
There may be factors that determine if you are likely to respond well to this type of treatment, so I really hope that you will ask about this form of treatment if you are interested in finding out more.