Dry needling is an invasive procedure that involves the insertion of an acupuncture needle directly into the skin, usually directed at a muscular ‘knot’ (also known as a myofascial trigger point). These taut areas of muscle spasm are associated with the production of pain and muscular dysfunction.
The dry needling approach is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles as opposed to traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture. To practice dry needling as a physiotherapist, post-graduate certification is required.
The exact mechanism of dry needling is unknown although research has revealed a number of primary physiological effects of needling on tissue:
- Increased local blood flow to an area which helps stimulate healing
- Inhibition of pain pathways (overriding messages due to mechanical stimulation of nerves)
- Endorphin release (body’s natural pain-dampening chemicals)
Dry needling can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including but not limited to:
- Tendinopathy (such as Achilles or tibialis posterior)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Oedema following ligament injuries and sprains
- Rotator cuff syndromes
- Sciatic pain
- Patellofemoral pain
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Generalised muscle spasm
To find out more about the effects of dry needling or determine whether it would be suitable for your musculoskeletal condition give Tailor Made Physiotherapy a call on 9481 9856.