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Dry Needling

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is an effective and efficient technique for the treatment of muscular pain and myofascial dysfunction performed by specifically trained physiotherapists. Dry needling reduces pain and improves function by releasing myofascial trigger points in the muscle. Myofascial trigger points are areas of muscle tightness, where the muscle fibres have shortened and have been unable to lengthen back out to a fully relaxed state. These areas can become very tender and can even refer pain to other areas of the body. This results in suboptimal functioning of the muscle involved, leading to weakness, joint stiffness and altered biomechanics.

what causes a myofascial trigger point?

Myofascial trigger points can be caused by a multitude of factors and are a part of the body's protective response. Some of these factors include:

  • Overloading
  • Injury
  • Prolongued postures
  • Stress
  • Unexpected movements

how does dry needling work?

Dry needling works by causing a small amount of blood to pool around the trigger point where the needle has been inserted. This provides the trigger point with fresh oxygen and nutrients, triggering the muscle fibres to relax. The dry needle filament also acts to stimulate certain nerves called A-delta fibres, which release opiod peptides. These opioid peptides act to inhibit the sensation of pain from the myofascial trigger point, providing pain-relief.

what will you feel during dry needling?

When the needle is inserted into the muscle, you may feel a slight sting that should only last for a second. After this, the physiotherapist may move the needle around which will cause the muscle to twitch when inserted into a myofascial trigger point, creating a spasm-like sensation.