Dry needling is essentially a form of acupuncture that comes under the same umbrella of treatments, but has some differences. It involves using ‘dry needles’, which are thin filament needles. These are used to stimulate the body’s natural healing process to address a wide range of health concerns.
Treatment involves the therapist pressing the needles into trigger points on the body that will have an affect on the area causing pain. It’s proven to be an effective form of therapy that treats pain and doesn’t have man side effects.
The needles are very thin and it’s not painful at all. Obviously, if the muscle is damaged it will feel uncomfortable. But it’s a necessary pain to start the healing process.
Does Dry Needling Reduce Pain?
There is plenty of research to support the fact that dry needling does help reduce pain, speed up muscle recovery, normalize electrical and biochemical dysfunction, and more. JOSPT (Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy) published a report detailing the results of the Effectiveness of Dry Needling for Upper-Quarter Myofascial Pain.
It’s an interesting read, but like all scientific papers is a little hard to digest. The results are summarized as the following:
Dry needling proved to be a lot more effective than a placebo when put against each other in testing pain relief. Some results were immediate, and others improved over 4 weeks.
How Is Dry Needling Different to Acupuncture?
Both dry needling and acupuncture use needle filaments on trigger points around the body. The main difference is that acupuncture is based on the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. While dry needling is based more on the Western principles discovered through the scientific study of the body’s nervous system, musculoskeletal, and trigger points.
Who Can Benefit from Dry Needling?
There are a wide range of conditions dry needling can help with. You should arrange a consultation with your therapist to have your own individual condition looked at. But typically speaking, here are some of the conditions dry needling is used to treat:
- Relieving pain and frequency of headaches
- To treat the pain associated with frozen shoulder
- Speeding up the recovery from Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee, ankle, leg and joint pain
- Fibromyalgia pain
- And more
If you are recovering from major surgery or are taking any strong medications you may not be suitable for treatment. You will have to disclose and discuss this information with your therapist.