Blog by Pierre Joubert, Senior Physiotherapist
At Townsville’s Physio on Ross we pride ourselves on a philosophy of providing the highest standard of care to manage and prevent injuries. We are guided by the evidence and focus on active management (rehabilitation exercise) to ensure good long-term outcomes for our clients.
These active approaches can be supported by adjunctive treatments such as electrotherapy, manual therapy or dry needling to help reduce your pain and support your active rehabilitation plan. This blog provides a brief overview of dry needling to help you understand when this treatment option might be useful for you.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling (DN) is a treatment method where fine sterile/single use needles are inserted into altered or dysfunctional tissue to improve or restore function. Needles are usually inserted into taught bands of muscle or connective tissue that may be contributing to your pain and limiting free and relaxed movement.
The name ‘dry needling’ is largely used to distinguish it from other types of needling that involve injections of ‘wet’ substances (cortisone, saline etc.) into an affected area. Depending on the specific techniques used, this method can assist in whole body and local pain reduction, decrease sensitivity of trigger points, and help reduce muscular tightness and spasm.
Is it the same as acupuncture?
Although there are some clear similarities, it is not the same. DN uses a western medical and anatomical approach to guide needle placements with the aim of restoring normal tissue function and reducing pain. In comparison, acupuncture uses traditional eastern philosophy that involves the utilisation of meridian or points based on an East Asian Medicine diagnosis and theories to treat local and systemic conditions.
How does it work?
DN may help to reduce pain, improve joint mobility, and reduce unwanted tissue tension and trigger points that may be slowing your rehabilitation and return to full activities. Although the precise mechanisms are complex and not fully known, dry needling is thought to decrease pain via local and central nervous system responses, as well as promote local physiological and chemical changes to restore homeostasis (normal balance) in the muscle tissue.
Myofascial trigger points (palpable sore spots) and muscular guarding are commonly found in a range of musculoskeletal pain conditions, and the treatment can therefore be useful as an adjunct in a range of conditions. Speak to your practitioner to discuss the suitability of this treatment option for you.
What are the risks and side effects?
Dry needling is considered a safe treatment approach, but like any invasive procedure, there are risks. Most adverse events are mild in nature. Mild adverse events can include minor bleeding or bruising, or an increase in discomfort during and immediately after treatment. These are likely to resolve within 1-2 days.
All our clinical practitioners have all the relevant qualification, with excellent anatomical knowledge to ensure all appropriate precautions are taken during treatment. During Covid-19 we are ensuring all infection protocols are taken for your protection.
For any further information, or if you would like to know whether dry needling might be a suitable option for you call us at Physio on Ross Townsville at 07 47282116 or consider booking an appointment online.