Dry needling is becoming a very popular adjunct to Physiotherapy practice, and one that we use in clinical practice at Peak Health. It can be very effective in relieving muscle pain, spasm and tightness and could help to speed up your results.
Some of the conditions we treat with dry needling include:
- Neck Pain and headaches including migraines and tension type headaches
- Muscular tightness neck/lower back problems
- Sporting injuries
- Buttock pain and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf strains)
What is dry needling and how does it work?
With Dry Needling, a very fine, solid filament needle is tapped gently into specific points (myofascial trigger points or knots) within affected muscle. The goal is to elicit a contraction or a ‘twitch’. When this occurs it can release spasm or tension and reduced pain that the trigger point has caused.
In brief it:
- Breaks up soft tissue contracture
- Releases trigger points
- Reduces inflammation by stimulating the release of immune cells in the area
- Centrally activates the brain to inhibit the pain signal and locally causes the release of immune cells, hormone and blood flow for rapid healing.
The advantages of dry needling over other treatments are that we can treat parts of the muscle, and deeper layers of muscles, which our hands and fingers cannot reach! Thus results are achieved with dry needling which cannot be obtained with any other treatment.
How is it different to Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has its roots in ancient China and its objective is to restore energy balance in meridians. If you’ve been into using holistic therapies for a while you may have experimented with acupuncture. Dry Needling IS NOT acupuncture. Yes, the needles are the same but that’s where the similarities stop. If you have neck pain for example, I will treat the neck and surrounding tissues directly. An eastern medicine practitioner or Acupuncturist may choose to treat your neck pain by selecting points more distal in the body such as the foot or ankle.
I’m still not convinced. What does the research say?
Searches for “trigger point dry needling” or “dry needle physiotherapy” yields pages of results, most of which support the use of dry needling for a variety of conditions. Two systemic reviews have validated dry needling including a Cochrane review (highly prestigious!)
Will it hurt?
As mentioned earlier the needles used are very thin, solid and flexible. They are nothing like the hypodermic needle you would see at a doctor’s office. Most patients actually fail to recognise when there is the actual insertion of the needle. When the needle engages the trigger point, you might experience a sudden localized pain or twitch which a lot of people describe as a muscle cramp. The therapeutic response is related to the local twitch responses and thus it is a good and desirable reaction.
Is it right for me?
At Peak, we will always do a thorough exam beforehand to make sure it is appropriate for you. If you are interested in our specialised Dry Needling book an appointment here.