Firstly, I’d like to stress that dry needling is NOT the same as acupuncture.
Dry needling is based on scientific research and is used on the muscles within the body. It involves the insertion of small needles into trigger point parts of the muscle/s in order to relieve pain. Trigger points occur throughout the body and is frequently called ‘knots’ within the muscle or tender areas.These can cause pain similar to a headache or sciatica for example.
Acupuncture is based on energy flow known as ‘chi’ which flows along the meridian within the body. It originates from the East is and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture is thousands of years old and takes a therapist many years to become qualified in their field.
Trigger points are caused due to the stresses that a person puts on the muscles and nerves in everyday life. By using sports massage and/or dry needling it can deactivate the triggers point causing the pain/dysfunction.
Research has found that when needles are inserted into trigger points there is an improvement in the body and…… it is not as bad as you may think it is.
So, if you have a problem area, like shoulder, neck, head pain, why not try the dry needling treatment for a relaxing-ish time. Whatever the problem area you will be lying in a comfortable position before the treatment begins. Upon insert of each needle you may feel a sharp stinging sensation, or just the tapping in of the needle. When the needle makes contact with the trigger point the muscle should respond with a slight contraction, much like a twitch. You may also feel a ‘cramping’ of the muscle, a deep ache, a burning or referred pain depending on how your body reacts to the treatment. A referred pain is a good thing as it means the needle has reached the correct area for the problem that you have.
When the twitch response decreases there is an increase of blood flow to the area along with other defenses within the body to help heal and build normal muscle fibers in the area and helping the muscle return to normal.
Dry needling can be less uncomfortable then soft tissue treatments, so don’t dismiss it out of hand.
If you find any of the needles too uncomfortable I will remove the needle or needles immediately and stop when asked. Your comfort is paramount, although any discomfort is usually brief.
It is normal to experience soreness or the occasional bruising after treatment that can last for 48 hours. Taking a hot bath or stretching can help relief this along with drinking plenty of water.
What are the risks?
The risks with dry needling are minimal. The needles are sterile and only used once before being safely disposed of. There is a risk of bruising, but this should not be of a concern, useless you are using blood thinners and my code of practice will automatically mean that I would not treat you with dry needling anyway. The needles are so small any significant tissue trauma is small.
The most serious event that could happen is if the lung was punctured. Although the needles are angled in a way that in trained hands this should not happen it is always a risk, even if a very small one. If you believe this has happened to you depending on the severity you would experience a shortness of breath for days, maybe weeks or you may need to go to hospital to have your lung re-inflated. I would like to stress that it is very rare for this to happen.
30 minutes £30