Dry needling is one of many techniques which we employ here at Mosaic Myotherapy. Dry Needling, also referred to as Myofascial Dry Needling, is used by myotherapists, along with selected osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors and medical doctors, to treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, especially that arising from trigger points.
Trigger points are those ‘knots’ that we sometimes feel in our shoulders especially. They’re often associated with postural issues and/or muscle imbalances and can occur throughout the body. Typically, they refer pain to other areas of the body (eg, from the shoulder, to the back of the neck and/or forehead). This pain is frequently felt as an annoyingly persistent “dull ache”.
Dry needling uses very fine needles (the very same type as those used by acupuncturists), but unlike acupuncture, which is based on stimulation of Chinese energy meridians, dry needling directly targets dysfunctional tissue (eg tight areas referred to as trigger points). Treatment aims to reduce pain and restore normal function and range-of-motion.
How does Dry Needling work?
Dry needling involves the insertion of fine needles into dysfunctional tissue (eg trigger points). The needle stimulates neuroreceptors around the dysfunctional area which then promotes the body to release naturally occurring chemicals into the area which in turn block pain and support local healing processes. At the same time, the body’s central nervous system is also believed to be stimulated (via a related process) reducing compensatory pain and muscle tightening.
What conditions can be treated using Dry Needling?
Dry needling targets muscle tissue, and associated neuroreceptors (connections with the spinal cord and brain), so therefore any conditions where musculoskeletal pain or tightness is an issue could potentially benefit. Myofascial dry needling is also very helpful for people with conditions which result in chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and myotonic dystrophy.
Examples of conditions which may respond well to dry needling include: neck pain and associated headaches, lower back pain, over-use injuries, eg tendinopathies, tennis elbow, ITB friction syndrome, frozen shoulder, soft-tissue injuries, shin splints, knee, hip and foot pain.
What does Dry Needling feel like?
The needles we use for dry needling are extremely fine. Often our clients tell us that they can’t feel them going in. Once the needle is in, some people report feeling an ‘aching’ sensation; others don’t feel not much at all. Sometimes the needle may cause a small muscle twitch. This is completely normal and indicates that the needling is helping the muscle to relax – one of the effects that we want to achieve in treatment.
After treatment (for the remainder of the day), those areas which have been treated can feel a little tired and achy, almost like they’ve been working hard in a gym session. Sometimes dry needling and make you feel tired and in that case your myotherapist will generally recommend that you take it easy for the rest of the day. For myotherapy clients who are accustomed to being treated using myofascial dry needling, it’s normally fine to continue with normal daily activities (including sport) on the day we treat, however for an initial treatment you may want to take the remainder of the day off.
How long does Dry Needling take to work?
After dry needling at our local St Kilda clinic, some people feel better immediately, however others may take a day or two to feel the effect of treatment. If your condition is ongoing/chronic, regular dry needling may be an effective way of managing it. Generally, a course of 3 to 6 treatments will result in considerable changes in muscle tension, with associated reductions in pain and increased movement. For some people, a single treatment is sufficient and for others longer is required. Treatment times and responsiveness vary tremendously across different people and situations and therefore it’s important to treat each person individually, based on their presenting condition, lifestyle and related factors.
Who is Dry Needling suitable for?
Dry needling is suitable for most people however because it is more invasive than other manual therapy techniques here at Mosaic Myotherapy in St Kilda, we utilise a range of treatment techniques and when indicated, integrate myofascial dry needling into our sessions. We certainly don’t use it in all sessions, or for all clients. As with most treatments, there are some clients for whom this won’t be a suitable technique to use, which is why your myotherapist will always take a thorough medical history and conduct a physical examination before treatment.
To find our more about dry needling at Mosaic Myotherapy, or to book an appointment with us please call 1300 55 44 51. We can be contacted any day up til 9pm (weekdays and weekends too – it’s all part of the service).