What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a technique used in alternative medicine that focuses on treating pain and movement impairments using fine needles targeted at trigger points. Trigger points are tender points in the skeletal muscle that can cause pain when squeezed or pressed.
The extremely small injuries created after the needle is being inserted into skin may trigger a local healing process in the affected area. This results in an effective improvement of the body’s normal functioning through its own intrinsic and natural healing process. Dry needling can stimulate the neural pathways that block pain by creating a disruption on the pain messages sent to the nervous central system.
Dry needling is suitable for all individuals regardless of age. However, there are some people who are not recommended to get dry needling treatments:
- Pregnant women
- People who do not fully understand the treatment
- People with needle phobia
What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that originated from Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that involves the insertion of fine needles into the person’s skin to help relieve pain as well as rebalance the body’s natural energy called chi. Unlike acupuncture, dry needling does not concentrate on balancing the chi.
Health benefits of dry needling
Dry needling has been deemed to be effective in helping treat the following health conditions:
- Acute and chronic tendonitis
- Headaches and migraines
- Post-surgical pain
- Repetitive motion disorders
- Chronic pain problems
- Back pain
- Sports and dance-related injuries
- Post-traumatic injuries, automobile accidents, and work related injuries
- Night cramps
What to expect from a dry needling session
Prior to the start of the treatment, an initial consultation will be conducted to determine the areas of the body that are causing physical pain or emotional distress to the patient. Also, a brief physical examination and medical and health history will be completed to determine if dry needling is appropriate to the patient’s needs.
After preparing the needles, the practitioner properly sterilises the patient’s skin to begin the treatment process. Similar to acupuncture, the practitioner will start inserting the fine, sterilised needles into the skin, targeting specific trigger points.
The number of sessions for a dry needling treatment will depend on the symptoms’ severity, with short-term relief being experienced after the treatment.