What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a technique that uses fine needles to target myofascial trigger points. Myofascial trigger points, often referred to as “trigger points”, are localised and hypersensitive nodules in muscles that can cause pain, discomfort, and referred sensations.
These points are characterised by taut bands of muscle fibres that are more sensitive and tense than the surrounding tissue. When pressure is applied to these trigger points, it can cause pain at the site or in other parts of the body, this is known as referred pain.
Myofascial trigger points are commonly associated with muscle overuse, injuries, stress, poor posture, and other factors that can lead to muscle tension and dysfunction. They can be a contributing factor in various musculoskeletal issues, such as tension headaches, neck pain, lower back pain and fibromyalgia.
Dry needling technique involves placing needles into these trigger points in order to desensitise them and help reduce pain.
Does Dry Needling hurt?
Whilst not usually painful, needling can cause sensations of discomfort which can vary from person to person. Like many manual therapy treatments, needling can be associated with some after treatment soreness. This usually lasts for less than 72 hours.
How does Dry Needling work?
1) Precise Disruption
Precise Disruption: By inserting fine needles directly into myofascial trigger points, dry needling disrupts tense muscle fibres and help to break the cycle of muscle dysfunction and pain.
2) Neurological Stimulation
The needle's presence in the tissue stimulates sensory nerves. This stimulation can prompt the release of endorphins, releasing natural pain-relievers and reducing pain sensitivity.
3) Enhanced Blood Flow
The needle insertion causes small-scale tissue trauma and triggers an inflammatory response. This increases blood flow to the needled area, delivers vital oxygen, nutrients and immune cells that promote healing.
4) Tension Release
The mechanical action of the needle assists in breaking up adhesions and scar tissue within muscles and surrounding tissues. This can lead to increased muscle flexibility, a wider range of motion and improved overall muscle function.
5) Neurological Resetting
The local twitch response initiated by dry needling can effectively "reset" dysfunctional nerve-muscle pathways. This helps disrupt pain signals and reset muscle patterns, leading to improved function and reduced pain over time.
6) Long-Lasting Benefits:
Dry needling isn't just about immediate relief. The tissue healing and remodelling triggered by the process can result in lasting improvements in muscle function and pain reduction.