Dry Needling

Straight to the point! 

You know that sore spot or trigger point that all us physios talk about?  What about that tight band of muscle that you just can’t roll out or target with your massage ball? Dry needling is your man.  It’ll get straight in there and clear that pain, tight point or band right up. 

What are trigger points anyways?  A muscle is made up of hundreds of filaments that contract and relax every time we shorten and subsequently lengthen our muscles.  Through sustained postures like sitting at computers, carrying children, handbags or repetitive movements at work muscles can become tight, weak or both. Similarly, with injury or times of inactivity, we can develop so called ‘trigger points’, where those contractile filaments get locked, tighten parts of the affected muscle and cause pain. These have also been referred to as ‘knots’.  Trigger points not only cause pain and restriction at the centre of them, but can refer severe pain away from themselves and restrict normal movement of the whole limb or area. 

So what is Dry needling? We use small needles that are only .25-.3mm thick and when tapped into the muscle aim to stimulate the trigger point and release it. When we hit the spot and get a full release of those particular filaments, the muscle will elicit what we call a twitch response.   This may feel odd or even a little painful, but can be very beneficial in the end because these twitches are the muscle fibres unlocking and returning back to normal working length.  

After dry needing you can expect increased movement and pain reduction.  However, in the first 24 hours it is normal to feel a heavy and achy feeling, especially with higher grade treatment or with certain muscle groups (e.g. upper traps). Your physiotherapist can grade your treatments to see how you react after the first session and then adjust the treatment accordingly. This is because we have created an inflammatory response in your muscle by breaking the skins surface and micro damaging the muscle fibres. In response, the body increases blood flow to the area, bringing with it histamine and other goodies to start the healing process. Histamine is our body’s natural relaxant and will continue to relax the area and increase blood flow to the muscle for the next three days! It is recommended to drink lots of fluids for the next 2 days after treatment and not to take ibuprofen or any anti-inflammatories, since we have just created a good inflammatory response and need the body to do its thing. 

What conditions may benefit from dry needling? 

Almost any injury or condition. Some of these may sound familiar to you:

  • Tight quads, patello-femoral pain or knee dysfunction. 
  • Tennis of golfers elbow
  • Neck pain and headaches 
  • Acute and chronic neck pain
  • Sciatic pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints 
  • Gluteal issues and hip bursitis
  • Shoulder impingement and pain
  • And the list goes on…

So come on in and ask one of our great Physios on the benefits of Dry Needling and how it can help you. Book online or give us a call at (02) 9810-2839.