Dry Needling – What is it and how does it relieve muscle pain?
What is Dry Needling?
If you’ve never seen Dry Needling before, your brain is probably beginning to conjure up memories of intimidating childhood injections or the not-fun-at-all activity of accidentally stabbing yourself while sewing. Dry Needling is an increasingly popular practice of inserting a solid filament needle to target muscles or fascia for a therapeutic effect.
If you think that sounds a lot like the traditional Chinese practice of Acupuncture, you’re pretty right. The difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling lies in their respective origins: Eastern Medicine and Western Medicine.
Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine
- has a focus on the Meridian system, the yin and yang and your energy or Qi.
Dry Needling and Western Medicine
- has a focus on the musculoskeletal system, based on scientific research and anatomy
What is the theory behind Dry Needling?
The needles are made up of very thin filaments which target myofascial (muscle + fascia) trigger points. Their design means that you can target precise points that stretching or massage alone cannot relieve. Trigger points are often described as “knots” you may feel causing pain and limiting function in overworked muscles.
How does it work?
Without exploring the minutiae of pain theory, the very tiny piercing of the skin sends a signal to the brain to provide more blood supply to the areas being targeted. The blood flow begins the inflammatory healing process, allowing the trigger point or “knot” to deactivate and repair. The needle is held in for as long as this process takes to make a change and then removed.
Does it hurt?
Sensations felt during needling will differ across individuals. You may feel:
- a slight prick as the needle pierces the skin
- a dull ache when the needle hits the trigger point
- tenderness 24 hours post-treatment
Is it safe?
At Holistic Bodyworks, Dry Needling is performed by qualified health practitioners. All needles that are used are single-use and sterile.