Dry Needling, thats like acupuncture right? Not really..
Dry needling (DN) is based on biomedical principles with scientific backing, whereas acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine..
It is a common treatment used by physio’s to treat pain and dysfunction caused by muscle or nerve related problems.
In short, your Physio inserts thin, sterile needles into the tight nodules found in muscles (TriggerPoints), or more superficially in areas innervated by specific nerves which are responsible for pain and limitations of movement..
SO HOW DOES THIS HELP?
By inserting needles into the skin and underlying tissue, a MICRO-injury is created, big enough to facilitate the body’s normal healing processes, but small enough as not to cause any lasting damage to the tissue.
The result of this is localized increase in blood flow to the area (the redness seen around the area of insertion), and it is with this increase in blood flow that healing is allowed to happen.
Apart from the above, when needling tight muscles or trigger points, formed as a result of injury, overuse, strain or even underuse of muscles, a “twitch” or “jump” is often felt in the muscle. This twitch is a result of a biochemical reaction that occurs in the muscle, causing a release of the trigger point and hence reducing irritability of the area.
DN is also believed to cause stimulation and hence desensitization of the body’s neural (nerve, spinal cord and brain) pathways that allow our brains to interpret and produce or suppress pain.
HOW SAFE IS IT?
DN is generally a safe treatment option, provided it is done by a trained/qualified physio.
Depending on the area of the body being needled, various precautions should be taken to avoid any adverse events. Your physio will be able to explain the potential risks associated with your particular condition.
Some “soreness” is to be expected after the treatment as the body undergoes an inflammatory response that precedes the healing and relief symptoms which usually occur an hour or two after the treatment. A small bruise may or may not form around the area that has been needled. This is not uncommon and is no reason to be concerned about a “botched” treatment.