What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling involves inserting a thin filament needle (similar to acupuncture needles) into specific trigger points on the body to treat myofascial pain or dysfunction arising from injuries. A trigger point is a tense or tight area of muscle. Dry needling helps to relax muscles and alleviate pain when inserted into these trigger points.
How does it differ to Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves redirecting the flow of Qi in order to relieve muscle pain and also includes a number of different needling techniques. In contrast to this, dry needling is based in western medicine using anatomy and physiology to determine trigger points and helps to alleviate musculoskeletal pain and myofascial dysfunction. Unlike acupuncture, dry needling is one technique, which can be administered by a range of different health professionals that include specifically trained physiotherapists, acupuncturists and naturopaths.
What does dry needling treat?
Dry needling can be used to treat numerous musculoskeletal conditions. These include:
• Neck, back, shoulder, hip and arm pain
• Tennis or Golfer’s elbow
• Headaches & migraines
• Jaw pain
• Leg pain, such as hamstring strains, sciatica or calf tightness
• Spinal pain
Are there any side effects?
Following a dry needling procedure, some patients may experience mild muscle soreness over the treated area and possibly into areas of referred treatment. This typically only lasts for 1-2 days at most. Depending on the amount of soreness, some further treatment may be required such as applying heat or ice to the area, stretching or gentle massage.
To determine whether you require any form of dry needling treatment, a full history should be taken by your doctor or health care professional along with a physical therapy examination to assist with creating your tailored treatment plan.
Josh Banky is a Physiotherapist. He works at Lifecare Prahran Sports Medicine on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday. The clinic is close to suburbs including Malvern, South Yarra, Richmond, Caulfield and Hawthorn, and has early and late appointments for all your Sports Medicine and Sports Physiotherapy needs. You can find more on Josh on our practitioners page