Dry Needling


Dry NeedlingDry Needling is a form of treatment utilized by Physiotherapists that is becoming increasingly popular as a technique for treating a range of musculoskeletal conditions.  It gets its name largely to distinguish it from other types of needling that involve the injection of substances into the affected area.

Dry needling is an invasive treatment technique that involves inserting a solid fusiform needle into the skin and underlying muscle belly in the region of identified tight muscular bands or myofascial trigger points Myofascial Trigger Points have been described as a hyper-irritable spot within a skeletal muscle (ref: Travell and Simons). Myofascial trigger points are painful when pushed and can refer pain and create dysfunction in other area of the body.

Dry needling is commonly used to deactivate and help resolve trigger points. Myofascial Trigger point needling has limitations to its application, as only needling the site of irritation will not resolve the dysfunction and restriction demonstrated.

It is important to note that dry needling can be uncomfortable however when performed by a skilled physiotherapist it is relatively painless and has minimal side effects.

There are several different approaches that your physiotherapist may use:

Superficial dry needling – with this approach your physiotherapist is influencing the local neural flow and local levels of natural endorphins.  By stimulating the tissues overlying the affected area (ie, the skin, fatty tissue and fascia), nerve input to the spinal cord is altered, thereby altering the neural output to the area and reducing pain.

Deep dry needling – this is a common approach in the presence of myofascial trigger points.  It involves inserting the needle into the muscle belly to elicit what is known as a local twitch response, or an involuntary contraction of the affected muscle.  This is followed by optimal relaxation of the muscle.  This technique is more aggressive and may be associated with regional discomfort for a short period of time.

Dry needling addresses the limitations and restrictions exhibited by the patient during the physical assessment.  In the care of an experienced practitioner, needling can be used in most cases with equal or better effect than other manual therapies, with little or no post treatment side effects.

For more information, contact Movement For Life Physiotherapy on 08 8945 3799.