Dry needling is based on Western medicine and neurophysiological principles. It is different from traditional Chinese acupuncture, which includes diagnosis and reasoning based on Chinese medicine assessment. However, both traditional and western dry needling work on meridian points and 71% of trigger points actually coincide with acupuncture points.
Dry needling is an incredibly effective treatment option for many musculoskeletal concerns including chronic tightness, trigger points, chronic pain, acute muscle spasm, areas resistant to stretch, fibromyalgia, and other stress related conditions. Revolutionary results in no time at all are common for those who experience dry needling as part of their consultation - even for clients who have tried 'just about everything else!'. Although the treatment physiology is different, it uses the same type of needle as acupuncture; which, being very fine and small, makes it an accessible treatment option even for those normally intimidated by needles.
When using dry needling during Holistic Physiotherapy, the intensity of the treatment is always matched to the clients requirements - whether that is a gentle approach for relaxation and immune system support or a more intensive approach for deep and stubborn muscle release. Of course, complementary soft tissue massage concludes a dry needling session for best results.
How does it work?
Dry needling involves the use of solid filament needle to stimulate a twitch response to release muscle tension and pain, allowing the body’s biochemistry to produce a natural analgesic. It helps to treat the limitations and restrictions that are found during physical assessment. For most conditions dry needling has little or no post treatment side effects with equal or better therapeutic effect than other manual therapies.
The needles are inserted into trigger points to deactivate and resolve them. Your muscular pain then disappears.
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a hyperirritable spot within the muscle. It is usually painful to touch and may refer pain elsewhere. Your trigger point may give you abnormal movement and “autonomic” changes such as temperature and skin changes at the site of a pathology.
Benefits of dry needling
Dry needling reduces the referred symptoms of trigger points and can be used to treat your:
- Neck pain – wry neck, headaches or migraines
- Jaw pain
- Muscular tightness – neck / lower back problems
- Sporting injuries
- Shin splints and many other conditions.
What will I feel?
The needle used is very thin and most clients do not even feel it penetrate the skin. A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of this needle. However if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject will feel a sensation like a muscle cramp -'the twitch response'.
You also may feel a reproduction of - your - pain which is a helpful diagnostic indicator for contributing factors in your specific condition. Clients quickly learn to recognise and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivation of the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length and function to the involved muscle.