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Dry Needling?

What is dry needling? Does it hurt? How does it work? Is it the same as acupuncture? These are all common questions patients frequently ask and that this blog will aim to answer…

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What is dry needling?

Dry needling involves the use of a sterile acupuncture needle inserted into tight muscle bands known as trigger points or along a particular nerve pathway. The aim is to bring about a local twitch response within the muscle and the bigger the twitch response, the more effective the dry needling is likely to be in decreasing pain and relaxing overactive muscles.

How much does it hurt?

Patients often report feeling no pain at all or a slight sting somewhat similar to a mosquito bite that should subside within a few seconds.

How does it work?

It has been shown to help the following

* Increase blood flow,

* Change the shape of cells within trigger points,

* Alter the chemical content of trigger points,

* Block pain nerve pathways,

* Stimulate regions in the brain,

* Release endorphins,

* Create an immune response,

* Activate brain waves that elicit a relaxation effect, and

* Deactivate trigger points within muscles

How does it differ from acupuncture?

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Acupuncture is believed to work by redirecting the flow of energy, known as chi, within the body, with the aim of relieving tension, stress and pain. Acupuncture is derived from eastern medicine and hence uses spiritual paradigms. Needles are inserted into acupoints along the body’s meridian pathways, often very distant to the site of pain, and no local twitch response is seen. This is very different to dry needling which is based on western medicine philosophies and therefore uses anatomical and biological concepts as discussed.

Ultimately, dry needling is a very effective tool in relaxing overactive muscles and in the treatment of pain. So, have a chat with your physio and see if dry needling is appropriate for you!

Is extra training required to perform dry needling?

Yes. Our Physiotherapists who are trained are required to do a course prior to needling. If you want to know if dry needling is appropriate for you book with our trained Physiotherapists now!

Blog by our Physiotherapist Kara Giannone