Dry Needling

By Healthweb | March 28, 2023

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is the insertion of very fine, single use, sterile, acupuncture needles into myofascial trigger points. The diagnosis of trigger points relies on the physiotherapist’s skilled examination of muscle. Palpation or pressure produces a point of extreme tenderness in the muscle, along with the presence of tight muscle bands and pain, possibly referred to other areas.

What is a Trigger Point?

 A trigger point can be thought of as a contracted knot of muscle fibres. This results in a muscle not working efficiently and contributes to dysfunctional movement. Autonomic changes of the skin (sweating, coldness, goosebumps) can be experienced in the trigger point zone or referred pain area.

How do Dry Needling and Acupuncture differ?

Dry needling and acupuncture are often confused. Acupuncture is needling based on the principles of Chinese Medicine where meridian lines and Chi points are involved in the assessment and treatment to enhance energy flow in affected parts of the body. Dry needling has a western medicine basis where principles of neurophysiology and neurochemistry provide the scientific reasoning for the release of myofascial trigger points in muscle.  This forms the basis for the reduction of pain and restoration of normal function.

What conditions can Dry Needling help?

Current research is supporting the use of dry needling in the resolution of pain and tightness in musculoskeletal conditions. This includes acute and chronic back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, knee pain, tennis elbow, hip/gluteal pain and foot/ankle pain.

Physiotherapists at Physiotherapy for Women have the required training to use dry needling. This can be the treatment of choice for painful conditions or it can be combined with other manual therapies and exercise.