What is dry needling?
First of all, it is called “dry needling’ because unlike an injection at the Dr’s nothing is injected into the tissue, I am not using hypodermic needles.
Acupuncture needles (dry filament) are used in a unique procedure to restore normal tissue function by targeting muscles that are currently functioning in a non-optimal manner.
Dry needling can be beneficial in restoring normal tissue function and in accelerating pain reduction. The exact physical mechanisms of dry needling are complex and not completely known. However, public hospitals are now funding the use of dry needling for the effect of pain reduction in Western medicine. This has come about because of a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the positive effect inserting needles has on the nervous system’s electrical and chemical communications.
How does dry needling work?
There are some theories on the exact process however, the consensus generally is that the tiny needle induces brain signals that there is an “injury”, the brain then initiates a repair sequence, marching out the “soldiers” to instigate events to replace or repair the damaged tissue with new, healthy tissue.
“Twitching” will often occur in a painful ‘trigger point’ or muscular knot. This is both diagnostic as well as therapeutic, because healthy muscle tissue will not “twitch” when stimulated by the needle. If a “twitch” response has occurred, the muscle fibres in that area relax, ‘inflammation’ is reduced and circulation improves. The physiological processes incited by the dry needling can positively address muscle, tendon and myofascial pain and dysfunction.
Is dry needling painful?
Generally, no the actual needle insertion is not felt. The sudden muscle contraction as detailed above as “twitching” can have a quick “sting”. There is also a positive reaction from the therapeutic benefit of the muscle relaxing.
Many people report a “weightiness’” in limbs and a pleasant relaxing. Some soreness may be felt for 24-48 hours after however, plenty of fluids and heat or ice depending on the site reduces discomfort.
Is dry needling safe?
Dry needling like acupuncture is very safe. I use only single use pre-packaged sterile needles, the “clean “technique.