Medical Acupuncture or Dry needling
Dry needling involves the use of filiform needles (the same needles used in acupuncture), to treat myofascial trigger points that can cause acute and chronic pain; resulting biomechanical dysfunction.
Dry needling of the ‘shortened’ or ‘tight’ muscle band results in a reflex relaxation, which is palpable. This is accompanied by a reduction in pain and an increased range of motion.
It can be used to treat any condition where muscle pain or tightness is an issue, a few examples include:
Anterior knee pain
Shin Pain and tightness
Calf pain and tightness
Is dry needling safe and what does it feel like?
It is very safe for most people (like all treatments there are certain conditions where it is contra-indicated). Your therapist will choose a needle depending on your condition and body size. It is then inserted into the appropriate area, and you will feel a small prick. Depending on the technique, you may feel a muscle ache and a muscle twitch. These are all normal and good responses.
The Benefits of Dry Needling Treatment
Trigger point dry needling is a treatment involving the insertion of a needle into a trigger point in a muscle. A trigger point is an area of tightness in a muscle that is tender when pressure is put on it. Trigger points can be a source of pain and can commonly refer pain to different areas, each muscle has its own referral pattern. The infraspinatus muscle at the back of the shoulder, for example, will commonly refer pain to the outside of the arm and into the wrist.
Trigger point dry needling can be very helpful for those experiencing myofascial pain from trigger points. When the needle is inserted into the trigger point the muscle will undergo a localised contraction known as a ‘twitch’. This twitch is important for getting therapeutic benefit from dry needling. Many conditions can benefit from trigger point dry needling. These include:
Neck and Back Pain
Anterior Knee Pain
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Calf & Shin Pain
When used to treat these and other conditions, dry needling can have many benefits. These include
Improved range of movement
Improved muscle activation
Trigger point dry needling works best as part of a physiotherapy approach that can include manual therapy, ergonomic advice and exercise.