Dry Needling Services in Brisbane

Dry needling is a musculoskeletal treatment technique which involves the insertion of thin, solid needles into trigger points or tight bands within muscles. The aim is to relieve pain and improve muscle function. Dry needling is usually used in conjunction with other treatment techniques such as massage, stretching, and joint articulation.

What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is rooted in the understanding of myofascial trigger points—localised areas of muscle tightness and discomfort. Unlike traditional acupuncture, dry needling focuses on the mechanical and biomechanical aspects of musculoskeletal pain. By targeting trigger points, practitioners aim to release muscle tension, improve blood flow, and promote the body’s normal tissue repair mechanisms. Dry needling can increase endorphin release which helps modulate pain. Other soft tissues like ligaments, tendons, fascia, and scar tissue can also be assisted with dry needling.

Electro dry needling
Electro Dry Needling is a modified form of dry needling which utilises an electro-stimulation unit connected via cables to fine filament needles. The combination of dry needling with electro-stimulation often prolongs the pain relief effect by blocking nerve pathways and preventing pain signals from travelling to the brain. This current induces a painless muscle twitch response, prompting a minor muscle contraction. The frequency and intensity are consistently monitored to avoid pain or discomfort. This method of treatment often results in relaxation and pain relief.

Dry needling can increase endorphin release which helps modulate pain.

Benefits of Dry Needling

Dry needling has shown efficacy in addressing a wide range of musculoskeletal issues, including but not limited to:

  1. Muscle Pain and Tension: Alleviating tightness and discomfort in specific muscle groups.
  2. Chronic Pain Conditions: Offering relief for conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic lower back pain.
  3. Sports Injuries: Aiding in the recovery of sports-related injuries by targeting trigger points contributing to pain and dysfunction.
  4. Tension headaches: Managing tension-related headaches through the release of trigger points in the neck and shoulders.

If you’re considering dry needling as part of your treatment plan, talk to your practitioner or our friendly reception team here.

What is Dry Needling Like?

What does it look like?
Your practitioner will typically begin with a thorough assessment involving a discussion of your medical history, lifestyle, and specific areas of pain or dysfunction. Your therapist may use palpation and movement analysis, to identify trigger points that may benefit from dry needling.

Once trigger points are identified, the practitioner uses thin, sterile needles to penetrate the skin and target the underlying muscular tissue. Depending on the practitioner and their treatment goals, they may leave the needles undisturbed for a specified time, twist them, or draw the needle in and out of the target tissue a few times.

Post-treatment care may include gentle stretches, heat packs, mobility exercises or activity modification advice to maximise the benefits of the intervention.

What does it feel like?
Patients undergoing dry needling often report minimal discomfort during the procedure. There are however various responses that are considered normal. Twisting or tweaking the needle can trigger a localised twitch response in the muscle. Sometimes this twitch hurts a little, sometimes you barely feel it. You may feel the muscle relax during treatment. Sometimes the needle site will feel a little achy to start with, but this usually dissipates in a short amount of time. The needles are usually left in for anywhere from 2-10 minutes.

Are there any side effects or risks?
If performed by a highly trained and experienced allied health care professional, dry needling is very safe. The most common adverse reactions include bruising and local soreness for 24 hours. More serious complications are rare and can be discussed with your therapist. Dry needling is not recommended for people with needle phobias or those taking blood thinning medication.

Dry needling, when performed by skilled practitioners, is a valuable tool for musculoskeletal healthcare practitioners. Its ability to address stubborn muscle tension makes it an appealing option for individuals seeking an effective solution to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction when massage and stretching isn’t getting the desired results. If you’re considering dry needling as part of your treatment plan, talk to your practitioner or our friendly reception team here.

References:
Dunning, J., Butts, R., Mourad, F., Young, I., Flannagan, S., & Perreault, T. (2014). Dry needling: a literature review with implications for clinical practice guidelines. Physical therapy reviews, 19(4), 252-265.
Perreault, T., Ball, A., Dommerholt, J., Theiss, R., Fernández-de-Las-Peñas, C., & Butts, R. (2022). Intramuscular Electrical Stimulation to Trigger Points: Insights into Mechanisms and Clinical Applications—A Scoping Review. Journal of clinical medicine, 11(20), 6039.

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