What is dry needling?
Dry needling is an invasive technique where the use of solid filament needles (same as acupuncture needles) are inserted into the muscle tissue. These needles are directed at the trigger points of the muscle. Dry needling helps to improve tissue healing, by creating a healing response where the needle is inserted, and restore muscle function.
When dry needling is used with massage the release of the muscle and its trigger points increase and give the client more relief of pain. This is important as continued use of poor functioning muscles can result in further damage to the muscle tissue and increased pain.
What is the difference between dry needling & acupuncture?
While both are similar, with the use of the same needles, that’s where the similarities end. Both have different approaches. Acupuncture works with the meridians (or energy channels) of the body, which is based off Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The needles are placed into the acupoints to release blockages in the meridian channels.
Where as dry needling is based on current medical science and research, a more western approach. Dry needling targets the myofascial trigger points of individual muscles.
Is dry needling safe?
Yes dry needling is safe, but like any other manual therapy there are some risks involved. The negative effects (or risks) of myofascial dry needling are; slight bleeding, broken needle, stuck needle, drowsiness, pneumothorax, haematoma, fainting, bent needle, infection and pain during treatment (nerve).
All these risks are very small as long as the therapist stays within their scope of practice. The positive effects of myofascial dry needling include; inhibit the transmission of pain signals, increase the release of pain relieving chemicals, relax muscle tissue, reduces the nociceptive input from the treated trigger point, reduces widespread pain and sensitivity, can evoke clients referred pain pattern, stretch sarcomere assemblies and reduce the overlap between actin and myosin filaments. In the end the positive affects far out way the negative effects and can give the clients far more mobility and less pain.