Many people think that dry needling means acupuncture- but in fact they’re not the same. Acupuncture is a treatment practiced in traditional Chinese medicine which is based on the helping the body’s energy flow.
Dry needling is a healing treatment practiced by our Chiropractors and Myotherapist which is based on ‘western medicine.’
Dry needling involves the inserting of small thin needles in tight muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. The most common form of dry needling is needling to the trigger points, which is the tender ‘knot’ in the muscles.
Dry needling is also very effective for those who do not like the pain of deep-tissue massage.
Trigger points in muscles can be caused by emotional stress, postural strain, trauma, fatigue, altered breathing patterns, sleep deprivation, infections and mineral deficiencies.
Once a trigger point is established it can become self perpetuating and persist for decades until it is adequately released. If the trigger point is not released it can lead to altered joint motion and be the cause of recurring neck, hip and low back pain for example.
Dry needling can physically break down the trigger points, ‘resetting’ the muscle and allowing for full strength and range of movement to return.
Problems that can be helped with dry needling include:
- Chronic back or neck pain
- Migraines and headaches
- Sports injuries
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Nerve root pain
- Tight muscles
- Ankle, knee and hip pain
- Hand, arm and shoulder pain
How does dry needling work for muscles?
Compared to normal tissue, a high concentration of chemicals which cause pain can be found in the trigger points. When the needle goes into the trigger point, it helps to normalise these chemical levels. Therefore, this helps to release muscle contraction and results in decreased pain.
- It can help to increase blood flow to the area to promote healing.
- It can regulate nerve communication in the nervous system to block the pain signal coming from the brain.
- Needling to an area away from the pain may block the pain signal from the affected area.