Dry needling has become more common recently as an effective physiotherapy treatment tool for many musculoskeletal problems. Dry needling is an evidence based treatment that has many known effects and some relatively unknown. As physio’s we are often asked- what does it do?
Dry needling is very different to Chinese based acupuncture. Chinese acupuncture aims to restore energy flow as per Eastern medicine beliefs. Dry needling uses the same type of needles, although, we aim to stimulate active trigger points by direct insertion into muscles. When a needle is introduced into this tight area there is often a localised twitch response. The twitch response deactivates the trigger point and the muscle then relaxes. There is also increasing evidence that needling can stimulate the brain’s pain relieving chemicals as well as inhibit pain pathway signals.
There are certain medical reasons that occasionally prevent us performing this treatment. If you are interested in receiving dry needling as part of your physiotherapy treatment, ask your physiotherapist and they will determine if it is suitable for you.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of needling, that’s OK! Just let the physiotherapist know and I’m sure there are many alternative methods to treat your injury or condition.