Dry Needling is a treatment that uses small filament (acupuncture) needles to release tight muscles with the goal of permanently reducing muscle pain and dysfunction. Dry Needling directly treats the neuromuscular system affecting muscle tightness, joint mobility, and symptoms of pain and irritation.
The application of a dry needle creates a local twitch response (LTR) in the muscle fiber. This release can immediately improve movement, reduce pain and improve function. There is often a significant cramping sensation from the twitch response but then an immediate improvement in the symptoms. Afterwards there may be a general ache in the muscle, similar to the feeling after an intense workout or following a deep massage.
Dry Needling is a very effective form of treatment however still requires in most conditions that the underlying biomechanics be addressed and therefore is used in conjunction with other ‘hands on’ techniques.
Dry Needling can be used for many conditions including but not limited to:
• Neck or back pain
• Tension type headaches
• Gluteal, rotator cuff, elbow and Achilles tendinopathy
• Piriformis Syndrome
• Jaw pain
• Groin strain
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Whiplash disorders
• Shin Splints
Dry Needling Frequently asked questions
How long will it take?
Please arrive 5-10 minutes early to fill in some paperwork and allow up to one hour for your initial visit. Dry needling is performed within an osteopathic or chiropractic consultation.
What should I bring?
Please bring any relevant previous scans (xrays, CT scans or MRIs) and your health insurance card if you would like to claim on the spot with our HICAPS facility.
What will happen during the first visit?
Your osteopath or chiropractor will ask you a range of questions about your complaint and general health. They will then perform an assessment and provide you with an explanation of what may be going on. They will suggest a plan of action for how to manage the complaint, prevent further recurrences and how to help you live your healthiest and best life. They will then usually provide some ‘hands on’ treatment, dry needling if it is appropriate during the first visit and recommend when you return for your next session.
What should I wear?
We often require you to change into a provided gown with your underwear or you may choose to wear a loose fitting pair of shorts. We will ensure you are warm and comfortable.
How many consultations are usually required?
There is no set answer as every person is different and every complaint presents slightly differently. For most complaints three of four visits is sufficient to reduce pain, improve mobility, provide education and give advice on reducing aggravating factors and improve overall health and well-being.
For more chronic conditions, complex injuries or where pre-existing health issues determine a slower healing time, perhaps more treatment will be required.
Will I require ongoing treatment?
For most people, once the injury has healed or the health complaint improved no ongoing treatment is required. However we live in a less than ideal world. Our lives are often either sedentary or the complete opposite; there are physical and emotional demands that exceed our body’s capacity. Therefore a ‘tune up’ or ‘check up’ is a great way to maintain good health. The frequency of these ‘tune-ups’ will depend on a number of factors and can be discussed with your osteopath or chiropractor. There is no obligation for ongoing treatment.
Is Dry Needling painful?
There is often a significant cramping sensation from the application of the needle which causes a twitch response in the muscles. This is then often followed by an immediate improvement in the symptoms. Afterwards there may be a general ache in the muscle, similar to the feeling after an intense workout or following a deep massage.
Are there any side effects?
The most common side effect is muscle soreness after the twitch response. This may last for 24-48 hours and your osteopath or chiropractor will discuss how to minimise this after your treatment. A less common side effect is bruising. Please ask any questions prior to treatment.
Will I be able to train, play sport or exercise afterwards?
Your osteopath or chiropractor will be able to guide you with what do to after your dry needling. In most cases we advise ‘normal activity’ but not strenuous exercise for 24-48 hours afterwards.
What if I don’t feel like dry needling in a session?
Your osteopath or chiropractor will always check with you before using dry needling in your treatment. Sometimes if you are not feeling 100%, or are about to exercise or play sport you may not want dry needling. That’s ok. We can utilize a range of other techniques to decrease your pain and improve your mobility. Clear communication is always the key.
Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t have dry needling?
There are some situations where we will not perform dry needling. These may include during pregnancy (particularly the first trimester), if you have metal allergies, implants, axillary or inguinal node dissection, if you have had recent surgery or have a needle phobia.