On the merits of Dry Needling


 

Often utilised in remedial massages, physiotherapy, and chiropractic, dry needling is a powerful tool for sore and tight muscles. What is dry needling, and how does puncturing a muscle with a sharp needle help relieve a complaint?

Dry Needling

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is a therapeutic technique that uses an acupuncture needle for myofascial trigger points, connective and scar tissue.

Before the treatment of dry needling, the tissue structure is first massaged to reduce general muscular tension. After the general muscle tension is relieved, what often remains are those nasty stubborn “knots” or trigger points.

Before inserting the acupuncture needle, the area is firstly sterilised using an alcohol swab; the needle is then placed precisely by the therapist who changes the depth and angle of the needle depending on the desired treatment outcome. The needle is left in the tissue from 5-10 minutes, helping trigger points to relax before removing the needle. Other therapeutic modalities can be utilised afterwards if the therapist believes it is clinically relevant such as stretching to help lengthen the muscle, or massage over the needled area to increase blood flow.

Dry needling is effective in relieving the pain and in improving the quality of life in patients living with myofascial pain syndrome.

Placement of needles

Not only does dry needling help relax the muscular-skeletal system, but it also helps reduce hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system and irritability of the motor endplate.

Due to its invasive nature, some risks of dry needling include, pain, bruising, bleeding or cutaneous infections, but chances of adverse reactions are minimal when exercised by a qualified practitioner with proper technique and sterilised equipment.

For further information, please speak to a qualified physical therapist with certified dry needling skills and how it may be beneficial.


Adriahn Frank, Remedial Massage therapist

Adriahn Frank, Remedial Massage therapist

Adriahn Frank

Remedial Massage Therapist
DipRM.


References:

  1. Abbaszadeh-Amirdehi, Ansari N, Naghdi S, Olyaei G, Nourbakhsh MR. Therapeutic effects of dry needling in patients with upper trapezius myofascial trigger points. Acupunct Med. 2017 Apr;35(2):85-92. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2016-011082. Epub 2016 Oct 3.

  2. Kietrys DM1, Palombaro KM, Azzaretto E, Hubler R, Schaller B, Schlussel JM, Tucker M. Effectiveness of dry needling for upper-quarter myofascial pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Sep;43(9):620-34. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2013.4668.

  3. Tekin L1, Akarsu S, Durmuş O, Cakar E, Dinçer U, Kıralp MZ. The effect of dry needling in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome: a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial.Clin Rheumatol. 2013 Mar;32(3):309-15. doi: 10.1007/s10067-012-2112-3. Epub 2012 Nov 9.