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Dry needling- who?what? why? when?

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a treatment method used in physiotherapy, it consists of inserting a thin needle into your skin around the area of injury to stimulate the underlying muscle and connective tissue.

What can I expect?

You may or may not feel the insertion of the needles as they are very thin. If may be described as a pinch and subsides. The needles may be moved/twisted to ensure they have reached the desired locations, this may cause your muscle to twitch. After the desired twitch is elicited, the needle is removed and the technique is repeated in another location of the same, or different muscle.

What are the benefits?

Dry needling can be effective in decreasing pain through desensitization, increasing range of motion and decreasing muscle tone.

The effects can be explained by:

  • Local twitch response- this can alter length and tension of muscle fibers

  • Blood flow- dry needling causes vasodilation to that specific area leading to increased blood flow and oxygenation of the tissue

  • Neurophysiological effect- dry needling can produce local and central nervous system responses which can aid in reducing sensitization to pain

With which injuries can you use Dry Needling?

Dry needling can be used anywhere on the body. It is commonly used to treat conditions such as:

  • Low back pain

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Knee pain

  • Hip pain

  • Shoulder pain

  • Neck pain

  • Headaches

Dry Needling is a nice technique, although not for everybody. Used alongside a good rehabilitation program it can certainly be effective. Please ask your trusted physiotherapy if you are interested or have any further questions.

Resources: Dry needling: a literature review with

implications for clinical practice guidelines 1

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