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Dry Needling

Dry Needling has gained popularity with Physiotherapists and Remedial Massage Therapists in recent years as an adjunct therapy, to help ease pain and release muscle tension. Dry Needling involves inserting an acupuncture needle into a trigger point (an area of contracted muscle or knot) to release the muscle. It can be used to release muscle tension and restore range of motion quicker than a lot of manual techniques such as massage. Dry Needling treatment can also assist with pain relief and to stimulate a natural healing effect.

Dry needling works by relaxing the knots in our body. Knots are small areas of contracted muscle. Insertion of the needle into these knots restores the muscles ability to lengthen and shorten again normally. The insertion of the needles causes blood to pool around the needle by providing that part of the muscle with nutrients and oxygen it needs to relax the knot.

Dry needling differs from acupuncture in the theory and location of the needles. Acupuncture involves a different assessment and focuses on the treatment of medical conditions by restoring the flow of energy through points in the body called meridians.

The risks of Dry Needling are minor and your therapist will explain these in full prior to treatment. Single use sterile needles are used at Physionorth. All qualified therapists at Physionorth have completed an APA (Australian Physiotherapy Association) approved course in Dry Needling.

Benefits of Dry Needling

If you have a trauma or overuse injury affecting a muscle and have noticed a tight, tender spot, then dry needling may help your recovery. 

Here are 6 ways that dry needling may help your recovery.

1. Reduce muscle tension

When the dry needle is inserted, it may elicit a ‘twitch response’ from your muscle. After the twitch, muscle fibres relax. Some patients give an almost audible sigh of relief!

2. Reduce pain

Trigger points reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a muscle, activating pain sensors to alert you to the problem. 

Once the twitch response has released the muscle spasm (which itself reduces pain), it opens the door for other healing processes such as improved blood circulation and reduced inflammation. Those processes can reduce pain and dysfunction in your muscles, tendons and fascia (bands of connective tissue beneath your skin).

3. Resolving referred pain

Dry needling may help to ease referred radicular pain like sciatica by targeting trigger points in the muscles of your back or glutes.

4. Tissue regeneration

Dry needling promotes tissue regeneration by releasing myofascial trigger points and allowing oxygen-rich blood to flow into the area once more.

5. Improved sleep

A randomised controlled trial of dry needling in patients with fibromyalgia found that dry needling improved sleep, eased depression and relieved anxiety.

6. Improved movement

You use your skeletal muscles whenever you move. Myofascial trigger points in your muscles prevent your muscles contracting and releasing as they should, which can limit your movements. Dry needling releases the trigger points and eases movement.

How can Physionorth help?

We’re here to help you recover from musculoskeletal injuries and enjoy freedom of movement. If our assessment of your condition shows it may help you, our skilled physiotherapists may recommend dry needling as part of your overall treatment plan. 

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