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Dry Needling

Dry Needling Therapy is a valuable treatment technique in managing chronic pain, acute pain, muscle stiffness and spasm, edema/swelling, and painful muscle trigger points.

What is it ?

Dry needling is a technique involving the insertion of a solid filament needle into a myofascial trigger point (commonly known as a knot). This is an effective way to treat muscle pain and dysfunction caused by these “knots”. Myofascial trigger points are tender nodules in a taut band of muscle which are generated by overuse, over-stretching or overloading of a muscle.

Dry needling is only used to treat muscle issues that appear to contribute directly to the patients pain and symptoms.

The body also recognises the needle as invasive and sends the body's healing cells to the area.

Why is it called Dry Needling ? There is no fluid or medicine in the needle hence, the word dry needle.

Is it the same as Acupuncture ?

Dry Needling technique uses the same type of needles used in Acupuncture. However, Dry Needling treatment perspective is based solely on physiology, neurology and biomechanics, rather than the ancient Traditional Chinese/Asian Theory of the energy, “Chi”.

What does it feel like ?

Most people do not feel the insertion of the needle but then may feel a dull achy feeling. You may then feel a twitch / spasm or a cramp in the muscle called a local twitch response. The local twitch response will elicit a very brief sensation. The exact mechanisms of dry needling are not known. We do know that inserting the needle into the trigger point causes favourable changes in the biochemical make-up of the trigger point (Shah et al 2008). You may experience some stiffness for 48 hours after treatment. But this is a good sign that your body is starting to heal the area.


To get optimal results it is not advisable to exercise after treatment but your physiotherapist will advise you on appropriate stretches and heat. Usually you will see an increase in flexibility of the muscle treated straight away. It can take up to two days to see an improvement with your pain. One may need a few sessions to get a full pain free result.

Sometimes, you may experience bruising, redness or post treatment soreness (similar to DOMS). Rare side effects include nausea, tingling, numbness, dizziness, fatigue and extremely rare pneumothorax in a specific area.

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