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Dry Needling

iStock_000008885236XSmallWhat is Dry Needling?

Dry needling involves the technique of inserting fine filament needles into the muscle in the region of a “trigger point” to stimulate the body’s own pain relief system, without using drugs.

Dry needling originated from the model of Chinese acupuncture, which has been used safely for more than 2000 years. It was not until new neurophysiology concepts and techniques were identified that dry needling was introduced.

Now, medical doctors and allied health professionals, with a sound background in anatomy and neurophysiology are using dry needling all around the world for treating musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.


How is dry needling different to acupuncture and how does it work?

There are similarities with the type of needles used, but significant differences between the theory and technique of traditional Chinese acupuncture and dry needling. Acupuncture follows rules and beliefs which have been guided by ancient times, that focus on balancing the flow of energy in the body.

Dry needling specifically deals with “trigger points” or sore tight spots in the muscles which are tender due to sensitive nerve endings. The trigger point site also causes the muscle to shorten, which in itself can become painful and lead to dysfunction.

These trigger points can be found in muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and the periosteum.

The aim of dry needling is to achieve a local “ twitch response” to release muscle tension, pain and to restore normal muscle function. Dry needling is an affective treatment for acute or chronic pain of neuropathic origin with very few side effects.


Will it Hurt?

The needles used are very thin and most people do not even feel it penetrate the skin. However if the muscle has trigger points that are sensitive and the muscle is shortened you may feel a very quick (less than a second) muscle cramp sensation known as the ‘the twitch response’.

Patients soon learn to familiarise themselves with this sensation and even welcome it as deactivating the trigger point, reduces pain, restores normal length and function of the muscle and releases the body own natural opioid which causes a relaxed feeling.


Are the needles sterile?

Yes we only use sterile, disposable needles.


What should I do after having the procedure done?

Side effects are very rare with most patients only reporting general muscle soreness, which can last for a few hours up to a few days.

Recommendations may include applying heat over the area, gentle stretching and modifications of activities if required.


The podiatrists at Proactive Podiatry are trained in dry needling and can treat your muskoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain and assist with your dysfunction. Please call us today to make an appointment to discuss your dry needling treatment options.


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