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Dry Needling: Treatment for Muscle Pain and Stiffness

What is Dry needling?

Trained health professionals (including physiotherapists) use dry needling as a treatment method to help patients. The process involves inserting a thin monofilament needles into muscle. It doesn’t inject any fluid into the body hence why its described as “dry”. The needles used are stainless steel without any medication. One of the main factors to use dry needling is to target muscle knots (or trigger points) to improve function

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Dry needling targets trigger points

Trigger points are tight, hyperirritable and tender spots in muscle fibers. They can cause restriction in movement, disrupt function and cause pain locally and distally. Trigger points cause pain due to reduced blood flow to the area, causing decreased pH level in the muscle resulting increase sensitivity to pain.

How does it work?

The thin needle penetrates the skin and causes disruption of the trigger points, affecting the muscle and nerves. When the needle is applied it can decrease the tightness of trigger points, increase blood flow and reduce pain. Muscles may twitch when the needle is inserted in a “piston” or “pecking” like manner, indicating a trigger point area. However twitching varies between muscle and patient, and is not always necessary while treating the muscle.

The body responds to the needle insertion by releasing chemicals locally and centrally along the brain and spinal cord. the release of these chemicals help reduce pain and inflammation

Physiotherapists uses dry needling therapy as a stand alone treatment or in conjunction with a wider approach of intervention, such as exercise prescription, manual therapy etc. to achieve optimal outcomes.

What does dry needling feel like?

Patients may experience a minor pinch like sensation when the needle is inserted, a dull achy sensation may follow, especially if a twitch response is elicited. Furthermore the ache can last for 24-48 hours, it generally doesn’t affect function or performance.

Here is a video showing dry needling into the forearm

Forearm Dry Needling

For appointments

Triumph Physio operates in Mount Wellington and Newmarket, Auckland. We have qualified Physiotherapist registered under ACC that can help with your injury. For more info call us on 09 526 1448 or book online by clicking on the button below