Dry Needling is when a thin needle is inserted gently into the skin, with the aim being to help increase blood flow, allow the muscle to relax and repair, relieve spasm and most importantly help relieve your pain.
We often get asked if dry needling is the same as acupuncture. While the same needles are used, the aim of the treatments are uniquely different. Where dry needling and acupuncture differ is the technique and theory for how and where the needles are placed.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the theory that the workings of the human body are controlled by a vital force or energy called “Qi”, which circulates between organs along channels called meridians.
Dry needling is predominantly based on the trigger point model. Trigger points are hyperirritable spots along muscular tissue. In reality, we all have these sensitive points in our muscles and they may never become an issue. However, for some people these areas become symptomatic and lead to pain
So how does it work?
There are a number of theories as regards how dry needling ‘works’ but the most likely explanation is it has an effect on three levels, the tissue level, peripheral level (nerves outside your brain and spinal cord) and central level ( your brain and spinal cord).
It is most likely any changes at the tissue level is a result of the changes in the peripheral and central level help reduce pain, muscle spasm, increase blood flow and hormone levels.
Dry needling is a minimally invasive process that has the potential to reduce pain and facilitate easier, pain free movement. Combined with other physiotherapy interventions such as exercise and/or hands on treatment, dry needling can help you to achieve your individual goals from physiotherapy.
Dry needling is another tool in the physiotherapists extensive toolbox when used with the right person, at the right time, by the right physiotherapist it can be very effective in helping reduce your pain and stiffness, getting you back to the things you love to do without worry or restriction, moving better and feeling better.
It can be used as an alternative to “hands-on” therapy in very sensitised tissues, or at times to target deeper muscles, difficult to palpate via hands.
It is not for everyone but importantly when used with the right person, at the right time it typically makes you feel better!
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