Dry needling is a treatment technique whereby a sterile, single-use, fine filament needle (acupuncture needle) is inserted into the muscle to assist with decreasing pain and improving function through the release of myofascial trigger points (knots in muscle).
Dry needling is not the same as acupuncture, although there are similarities between the two techniques. The main difference between dry needling and acupuncture is the theory behind why the methods work. Dry needling’s primarily focused on the reduction of pain and restoration of function through the release of myofascial trigger points in the muscle. In comparison, acupuncture focuses on the treatment of medical conditions by restoring the flow of energy (Qi) through critical points in the body (meridians) to restore balance.
How does dry needling Work?
When a delicate filament needle inserts into the centre of a myofascial trigger point, blood pools around the needle triggering the contracted muscle fibres to relax by providing those fibres with fresh oxygen and nutrients, as well as by flushing away any additional acidic chemicals. This reaction, in turn, leads to the decompression of the local blood and nerve supply.
What will you feel during your treatment?
During a dry needling treatment, you may feel a mild sensation as the needle inserts and withdraws. Patients don’t report any discomfort during needle manipulation. A brief muscle twitch may occur during a dry needling treatment. This twitch may happen when the needle directly stimulates a myofascial trigger point.