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What is Dry Needling?

Oct 2, 2017

If you have sporty friends, or if you’ve ever sought advice for muscle pain, then you’ve probably heard of dry needling. If you have heard of it, then it was probably explained as ‘a form of acupuncture’ or similar, but you also probably heard how good it is for the right cases and how well it works. But what is it exactly?

Placing fine, high quality needles into different points in the body to alleviate pain and ailment has been practised in Eastern countries as early as 700BC, while using needles to treat various muscle disorders has been recorded in Western medicine since the 1700s. Over the past four centuries doctors have tried injecting different things into painful muscles, from anaesthetic, to anti-inflammatories, saline and even just water, with mostly positive results. One thing has been shown for sure over all these years: Needling a painful muscle reduces the pain, even without injecting anything via the needle.

Acupuncture, as most people know it, is different from dry needling. Acupuncture is based on Eastern treatment philosophies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dry needling is based on Western medical philosophies and has different targets for treatment, tests and measurements. Both forms are effective at what they treat and have a place in modern care. Now what are the targets for treatment of modern Dry Needling?

If you have a look at our blogs, Cameron did an article called “Getting to know Your Knots”. The knots he’s talking about, myofascial trigger points, are terrified of needles. Dry needles placed and left in knots stimulate the nerves to allow muscle fibre components to relax. They also stimulate the nerve receptors to transmit less pain from the knots, along a few possible pathways. This reduces that background ache in those knotted muscles, and allows for pain free movement.

Removing the pain from the knots, and eventually the knots themselves, lets you get back to working on the underlying postural or movement problems that caused the knots to form in the first place. Dry Needling is very powerful, effective tool for muscle problems, and being this effective means it can cause pain as it reproduces the knot pain to reduce it. It can be done very gently to minimize this pain and still gives great results. If you think Dry Needling is right for your muscle pain, come discuss it with anyone from our team of chiropractors at King Street Natural Health, we all offer the service!


Precise Points Dry Needling lecture presented by Gino Lo Pilato

Dry Needling: peripheral and central considerations – Jan Dommerholt

Therapeutic needling in osteopathic practice: An evidence informed perspective - Luke D. Rickards

Management of Myofascial Trigger Point Pain - Peter Baldry