Through extensive studies, western doctors found that the presence of the needle alone, when applying a cortisone injection, was playing a significant part in pain relief and injury recovery. This discovery followed with the development of dry needling, which uses fine acupuncture needles instead of invasive injection needles to deactivate myofascial trigger points, improve blood flow to the treated area and significantly speed up the recovery of tendon injury and pain. A key benefit of dry needling, other then avoiding chemical side effects, is long lasting pain relief and the correction of a chronic injury, where massage alone often is unsuccessful or too painful.
Although dry needling is based on different theories and involves separate training to acupuncture, they share very similar techniques and outcomes when being used to manage local pain and injury.
Is all dry needling the same?
Although the theory is always the same, skill level can vary significantly. Dry needling courses vary from 2 days up to 3 years, having an effect on the practitioner’s ability to accurately and safely treat.
A Clinical Myotherapist studies and practices dry needling for 3 years full time, offering a very high standard of treatment.
Is dry needling safe?
In general yes, but once again the practitioner’s level of training plays a big role in safety. If you are unsure of your practitioner’s ability, have them explain to you the theory of dry needling and their level of training and experience and judge their competence accordingly.
Does dry needling hurt?
The experience can vary depending on the location and type of tissue being treated. Sometimes when dry needling very tight muscles, there can be a strong twitch response that can be surprising for the patient. This is usually over in a few seconds with no negative side effects.
When dry needling tendons, the patient usually experiences a tolerable deep dull ach that gradually dissipates. Throughout treatment, the local area becomes relaxed and significantly less responsive to the dry needling which indicates that enough treatment has been done in that area.
If practiced well there is also a remarkable absence of the “post treatment tissue soreness” often experienced following deep tissue massage.