To some, it sounds like a treatment from heaven, but for some, particularly those that are needle phobic, they want to run a mile.

In many cases, the thought is far worse than the actual treatment.  I find that many people ask ‘have you started yet’ and often find, your half way through the treatment.

But, for a more technical explanation of what Dry Needling is and why you would use it, here goes:

  • Its a treatment technique used for musculoskeletal injuries, to release tight muscles, with the goal of reducing muscle pain and dysfunction
  • We use fine filament needles (so thin, often you can’t see them) similar to those used in Acupuncture
  • Manual therapists (Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Chiropractors) around the world are using this technique to treat both acute and chronic orthopedic and muscular conditions.
  • The aim is to locate a trigger point in the muscle and illicit a twitch response to release tension and pain.

When would I use Dry Needling?

Diagram of trigger points

We use trigger point (TP) knowledge to base our treatment plan on. Once a TP is identified and perhaps multiple TP’s are found, needles can be used help release the points of tension and lessen pain.

how pain can be referred down the leg/s, depending on the injury level.

Often where the pain is felt, is not necessarily where the pain starts. This picture shows how lower back issues can often refer down the legs, sometimes into the groin, and sometimes into the calves. A good therapist will be able locate the origin of pain and treat effectively.

Dry Needling can be used both in acute and chronic situations. Ive had great results with general muscle tension, headaches, post exercise soreness, releasing the tension around disc bulges, arm / finger numbness and to hasten ligament tear recovery – eg. rotator cuff.

I find this treatment works incredibly well, alongside soft tissue work.  Inadvertently, Ive had regular exercise or strength based clients comment that they find it helps muscles grow. I have no scientific research to substantiate this, but an interesting insight all the same.

Is dry needling painful?

And my response to that is ‘how long is a piece of string’.  In other words, it depends. I often get told, that its far gentler than they were expecting. But people can present with really sore injuries, and we do have to identify the TP (with our hands).  Its often this palpation, that people say is more sensitive than the actual needle.  People can experience a twitch response, where the muscle we are working, can jump or contract.  This feels weird for some people.

After the first treatment, I always recommend to have an easy afternoon (physically). Also, if you can jump in a bath or have a warm shower after treatment, this allows the body to fully relax.

My suggestion would be, if you’ve got a muscular issue,  give it a go!  Simple as that.

Yours in health and happiness, Karen