Dry needling is a name given to a set of needling techniques that are used for releasing stiff and knotted muscles. Very strong needle insertion and manipulation is used in order to cause a muscle twitch response, to disperse muscle tightness and pain, or to release a trigger point. Acupuncturists are trained in over 100 different needle techniques, including those which have been referred to in recent years as dry needling.
Dry needling is best suited to athletes and sports people who have musculoskeletal injuries. Conditions that respond well to dry needling include:
- Sports injuries
- Overuse injuries
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
- Rehabilitation from surgery
It is common after dry needling to have some localised soreness from the needles, this usually passes after a good night's rest and is best relieved by applying a liniment or a heat pack. We recommend drinking plenty of water after a dry needling session to ensure that your body can quickly mobilise inflammatory compounds away from the area(s) of tenderness.
There are some circumstances where dry needling is not recommended, and can cause exacerbation of symptoms or worsening of an existing medical condition. If any of the following apply, extreme caution is suggested:
- low blood pressure
- low iron
- postural hypotension, dizziness or tendency to pass out
- "adrenal fatigue" or run down
- sick with a cold or flu
- have an acute infection
- bleeding disorders
- heart arrhythmias, abnormal heart beats
- less than 3 months post-partum
- worried about the pain of needles
If you have any of the above conditions or concerns, we recommend you seek treatment from a fully qualified acupuncturist, who is skilled in determining if dry needling or another needling technique will be more appropriate for you.
Dry needling is a term most often used by health professionals whose primary training is in a different area other than acupuncture or needling (eg chiropractor, physiotherapist, myotherapist). It's important to find out how much training and experience your therapist has in needling, as some have had as little as one day of training. All our practitioners have had 4 years of training in all types of needling, and are experts in the use of needles. Our countless hours of acupuncture, dry needling and general needling gives superior outcomes for our patients every time.