Dry Needling for Musculoskeletal Pain
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling involves the use of ‘dry’ (i.e. non-medicated) fine filament needles for the treatment of a wide range of painful musculoskeletal conditions and sports injuries. Needling aims to address pain and dysfunction in soft tissue in order to provide pain relief and restore function. These dysfunctions often present as tight muscles or ‘muscle knots’. Common injuries treated by dry needling include low back pain, neck pain, whiplash, shoulder pain, elbow pain, knee pain and ankle sprains. At Anytime Physio, our physiotherapists have undergone extra training after their University degrees to become qualified and proficient at dry needling. We offer dry needling as part of our physiotherapy services at all of our Brisbane clinics.
Is Dry Needling Safe? Does it Hurt?
Dry needling is very safe when performed by a qualified therapist. While it may sound daunting to allow someone to insert multiple needles into areas that may already be sore, dry needling is often not as uncomfortable as it sounds. In fact, a recent study investigating over 7500 treatments sessions of dry needling found that only 3% of treatments resulted in pain during the treatment and only 2% resulted in pain after the treatment. It is important to also note that no significant adverse events were reported in this study.
Even though dry needling is safe, it is important to understand that needling inherently brings some risks, including mild bruising, tenderness and the potential for infection if the needling site is exposed to dirt or bacteria very soon after treatment. Our therapists will always explain the risks associated with any treatment and ensure that you understand before providing treatment.
What is the Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Dry needling has been described as ‘a technique used by physical therapists to treat myofascial pain that uses a dry needle, without medication or injection, which is inserted into areas of the muscle known as trigger points.’ Physiotherapists practice a variety of styles of evidence-based dry needling, including trigger point dry needling and Integrated Dry Needling. As part of our physiotherapy treatment, our therapists use dry needling in combination with deep tissue massage, remedial massage and exercises to help relieve pain and muscle tightness.
Acupunture is a method of treatment derived from ancient Chinese Medicine. Because it is based on the Chinese Medicine paradigm, it aims to stimulate the balance and flow of Qi energy that in Traditional Chinese Medicine is considered essential to health.
The primary difference, therefore, between dry needling and acupuncture is the process behind needle placement. In general, the same style of needles can be used for both acupuncture and dry needling, but the purpose behind their use differs greatly.