What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a technique that involves the insertion of a solid filiform needle into an area of a muscle known as trigger point, with the goal of reducing muscle pain and dysfunction. The proposed theory is as follows, when the needle is inserted into the myofascial trigger point it may elicit a local twitch response in the muscle, resulting in a change within the muscle and release of the trigger point hence reducing pain in the area. A myofascial trigger point is a small contraction in a muscle which can be palpated through the skin, it will usually feel like a small nodule or ‘knot’ and may elicit local or referred pain when touched.
How does Dry Needling differ from Acupuncture?
The two techniques both involve the use of solid filiform needles (also known as acupuncture needles). The main difference is the theories that they are based on.
Acupuncture is based on theories of traditional Chinese medicine and is performed by qualified Acupuncturist or Chinese medical practitioners. The basis of the treatment focuses on balancing ‘Qi’, which is believed to be an energy that runs through the body and that disruptions in the flow are responsible for disease.
Dry needling on the other hand focuses on modern western medical principals and research. The main theory involves inserting the needle into a myofascial trigger point as described above. Dry needling may be used to assist with a range of musculoskeletal conditions such as:
- Low back pain and neck pain
- Jaw pain
- Muscular strains and tightness
- Overuse and repetitive strain injuries
- Sporting injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Tennis/ Golfer’s elbow (Lateral/ Medial epicondylitis)
- Hip pain and tightness
- Hamstring issues