Trigger Point Dry Needling
Trigger point dry needling (more commonly referred to as dry needling) is a technique used by Physiotherapists to help alleviate pain and increase range of motion. It uses a single filament needle that is very thin, and most people do not even feel the needle and instead only feel the guide tube that is used.
Dry needling is focused on trigger points in skeletal muscle, which are taut bands of muscle that can cause the pain experienced by the patient. These trigger points are common in acute and chronic pain conditions, and are often painful when pressed on by the Physiotherapist.
How is Dry Needling different from traditional Acupuncture?
Dry needling effects and targets trigger points that are identified following a physical examination by a Physiotherapist, and is performed with careful consideration of the clinical findings. Acupuncture is based on meridians, that are predefined to have effects on various areas of the body. After Dry Needling, there is an immediate difference felt by the patient and seen by the Physiotherapist and can be measured.
What will I feel?
The point of trigger point needling is to elicit a twitch response in the affected muscle, therefore “resetting” the muscle to its normal length and tightness. This twitch response is most commonly felt as a quick cramping sensation, where the muscle performs a quick and sudden contraction that alleviates just as quickly as it came. Generally the more twitches that occur, the more relief that you will experience.
What should I expect from Dry Needling?
After a treatment session that involves dry needling, you should expect to feel a bit sore in the muscle that was treated. The best way to manage this soreness is to keep moving through the rest of the day, and the application of heat a few hours after your treatment session.
Are there any side effects?
Dry Needling is performed by experienced and qualified professionals, and is a safe, low-risk form of treatment. The most common side effects are:
- Muscle Soreness: you can alleviate muscle soreness through the application of heat later in the day following your treatment
These side effects are temporary and most people will recover from these side effects in 2-3 days following treatment.
Less Common Side Effects:
- Dizziness/Fainting: this is usually a result of missing a meal during the day or not eating or drinking sufficiently prior to the procedure.
- Metal Allergy: Please notify your physiotherapist if you have any known metal allergies or adverse reactions in the past to dry needling.
If you have any questions, discuss with your Physiotherapist at any time.
By Tim Tattersall (Physiotherapist)