What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling Athy Kildare

What is dry needling? What does it do? Is it painful? Is it the same as acupuncture?

Dry needling is a form of myofascial trigger point (MTrP) therapy. It involves a sterile acupuncture needle being briefly inserted into a previously identified hyper-irritable spot, within a taut band of muscle (i.e., a trigger point) (Dommerholt et al., 2006).

The aim of MTrP therapy is to reduce tension within muscle fibers by stimulating a local twitch response (LTR) in the muscle (Chen et al., 2001; Ga et al., 2007; Chen et al., 2001). MTrP dry needling and the stimulation of a local twitch response can;- reduce pain-inducing substances within the muscle- stimulate muscle regeneration and remodeling- enhance the release of fascia-related adhesions – stimulate oxygenation of the taut muscle- improve blood circulation – reduce inflammation using the pinprick action of the needleA small twitch or cramping sensation is felt when a LTR is stimulated, however the stimulation of this LTR is the goal of the treatment.

Some, if any, post-treatment soreness or pain is normal to experience 24-48 hours following dry needling, however patients have reported a significant improvement in pain following a single treatment session (Martin-Pintado-Zugast et al., 2018; Abbaszadeh-Amirdehi et al., 2017).

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine during which a needle is inserted into specific points in the body in order to facilitate the recovery of health. Traditional Chinese medicine describes the technique as a means of restoring balance and energy in the body. It is often used for pain relief, to reduce stress, or to improve overall wellness (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Dry needling is a modern, science-based form of therapy based on Western medical principles of treating MTrP’s. It is used for the treatment of pain and dysfunction in musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.

If you have any queries regarding dry needling, please do not hesitate to get in touch!


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