What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling targets muscle tissue and its nerve connections. If you have a condition where muscle pain or tightness is an issue – dry needling may be of benefit to you. These conditions may include (but are not limited to); neck tension, headaches, back pain, tennis elbow, shoulder conditions or shin pain.
Unlike the ‘set and forget’ approach of acupuncture, in a dry needling treatment the physiotherapist does not leave the patient’s side. A needle is gently inserted, moved slightly and then removed straight away. This is repeated a few times into the muscle or muscles in question
Dry needling specifically targets the trigger points in muscles. A trigger point is a hypersensitive region within a muscle (like those tender “knots” or lumps that you can feel in your muscles when you are stressed). When the needle is inserted into the trigger point, it acts to “jump start” the muscle and it’s nerve supply. This usually results in a reflex relaxation of the muscle. Often a local twitch response of the muscle will be elicited with insertion of the fine needle, which is a good indication that the dry needling session has been effective in relieving muscle tension and may also activate the body’s release of it’s natural painkillers – endorphins and serotonin.
When will I feel better?
Some people will feel better straight away, whereas others may feel better a day or two later. If you believe you have not felt much change, you may respond better to manual massage therapy from the Physiotherapist instead. If your condition is ongoing/chronic, regular dry needling may be an effective way of managing, reducing or eliminating your pain.
For the rest of the day after a dry needling session, your muscles might feel achy and tired, a bit like how you feel after you’ve done a big workout at the gym. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of water and rest if you feel tired. If you are already used to the needling, it should be fine to continue your normal training/exercise regime that day, but after your first time, you may choose to take a day off.
For the majority of people a course of 3 – 6 treatments can make considerable changes in muscle tension.
Is Dry Needling for me?
Although the use of Dry needling may be an attractive and effective alternative to traditional muscle release/myofascial release techniques, it is not for everyone. Please consult one of our Physiotherapists so that they can work with you to assess your suitability for treatment.
If you would like to find out more about Dry Needling or you would like to book in for an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists, please just give us a call on (03) 9873 3333.