what is dry needling?

Myofascial trigger point dry needling is a modern treatment technique often used by physiotherapists. It involves the use of thin, sterile needles to relief pain caused by muscle tension and muscle knots (trigger points). During your physiotherapy treatment, the needles are inserted into specific points within the involved muscles. The needles do not involve injecting fluid into the muscles.

When the physiotherapist inserts the needle into taut muscle fibers, which often develop around or near nerve endings, it triggers a twitch or a release of these fibers. This process results in reducing muscle tension, relieving pain and improved function of the affected area.

Are dry needling and acupuncture the same?

While both acupuncture and dry needling make use of the same needles, they are very different. Acupuncture targets energy flow in the body, otherwise knows as chi. On the other hand, dry needling is designed to target muscles, fascia and other soft tissue in the body. Physiotherapists often make use of dry needling as part of the treatment plan.

what conditions are treated with dry needling?

This method is often used within physiotherapy to treat arthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, muscular pain caused by tension or trigger points, headaches, migraines, tendinitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (jaw/mouth locking or pain), whiplash, back pain, and muscle cramps. Discuss with your physiotherapist to see whether dry needling is suitable for you.

is the treatment painful?

As the physiotherapist inserts the needle, you will feel the initial pinch/prick. While the treatment can be uncomfortable and many patients report a dull, throbbing or burning pain, this reaction is normal and varies greatly between patients. The severity of your complaints and muscle(s) involved will also impact your sensitivity to treatment.

what are the side effects and risks associated to dry needling?

Dry needling is a safe, effective treatment when applied by a qualified physiotherapist whom has received the required training to apply dry needling in practice. The most common side effects are mild and include bruising, minor local bleeding, muscle soreness, fatigue, feeling sleepy. Serious side effects such as infection, fainting, pneumothorax, or broken needles are extremely rare.