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Dry needling is a treatment technique used to decrease pain and restore function in muscles, joints, ligaments and other connective tissues of the body.
It involves inserting sterile, single use, fine diameter needles into the skin and deeper tissues and leaving them in position for a short period of time.
What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Dry Needling and Acupuncture are similar in that they both involve inserting fine needles into the skin and deeper tissues. The difference lies in the theory of how these respective treatments actually work.
Dry Needling works by the needles triggering a large involuntary relaxation effect in the connective tissues and muscle that the needle is being inserted into. This can then restore the normal function and alignment of those tissues, which will result in improved movement patterns, restoration of range of motion and/or a reduction in local pain and discomfort.
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture on the other hand, works by trying to address imbalances in the body’s life force or “qi” as it is known. Fine needles are inserted into pre-determined spots all over the body, and when used in certain combinations, are thought to restore the flow through the body’s meridians or pathways, which are believed to help with illnesses and other health issues that the individual may be experiencing due to this imbalance.
What injuries or conditions can Dry Needling be used for?
Dry needling can be used for all injuries and conditions that are seen at our practice. From chronic neck pain and headaches, all the way down to an acute sprained ankle. In most situations, dry needling will be used as an adjunct to other treatment modalities.
Are there any side effects of Dry Needling?
Yes, in most cases you may feel some slight pain or dull aches as some of the needles are inserted, but usually they will settle down within a few seconds to a minute. Sometimes there maybe some pain or discomfort, which lasts even after the needles have been removed. This is similar to normal treatment soreness that can occur from massage and mobilisation and will in most cases be gone within 24-48 hours. Occasionally you may feel slightly tired or fatigued following a dry needling session. This can be due to the effect the needles can have on your sympathetic nervous system and will often result in a very good nights sleep!
If you have any other questions about dry needling be sure to mention them to us next time you are in the clinic.
If you are considering trying dry needling for the first time, give us a call and our team of physiotherapists will help you decide whether dry needling can be beneficial for you.