In your body you may have noticed spots in taught muscle that when you press into them can be quite tender and painful. Commonly referred to as ‘muscle knots’, these we define as trigger points and may be responsible for localised or referred pain, among other symptoms. Unlike acupuncture that focuses on the regulation and balance of energy and flow throughout the human body, dry needling works on these trigger points in order to release the tension found at these sites in order to reduce the pain. Flowing inside these trigger point sites are multitudes of pain inducing chemicals, which are stuck in a continuous cycle of overstimulating the nerve causing more of these chemicals to be released. In order to interrupt this cycle we aim to generate a local twitch response at the muscle. These feel just like those muscle twitches you may sometimes get in your eyebrow or arm. Producing this response allows for the regulation of the chemicals in the trigger point, therefore releasing the patch of contracted musculature and reducing pain and the associated symptoms.
What to expect
It is quite understandable if your idea of relaxing doesn’t involve needles, especially with the way it is presented in television and movies. The needle insertion isn’t painful and in most cases you’ll barely feel it go in. Unlike acupuncture and some of the stuff you may have seen before, we only work with one needle at a time and we do not leave the needle inside you for several minutes. Instead we will work through the trigger point for less than twenty seconds in order to generate a handful of twitches to ‘twitch out’ the trigger point allowing for the release of the area. Eliciting these twitches is not so much painful as they are more like a bit of an uncomfortable cramp that quickly reduces in intensity. Afterwards you may find you have some residual soreness or bruising to the area, this should dissipate over the next few days.
Prior to treatment please inform your clinician if you have any of the following:
- If you are pregnant
- Metal allergies
- Axillary or inguinal node dissection
- Joint replacements
- Needle phobia
Booking for dry needling
Dr Traeger has been trained to the high standards of GEMt needling. If you are interested in having some dry needling performed, it is unlikely that it will be applied on the initial consultation. If it is discussed, you will have the opportunity to read about it at home and discuss it with Dr Traeger so that you can make an informed decision on whether it is right for you.
Dry Needling FAQs
1. What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling involves multiple advances of an acupuncture-type needle into the ‘trigger point’ of the muscle. The aim is to achieve a twitch in the muscle, which is associated with reduced muscle tension and pain.
2. What will I experience?
The needles used are very thin, and you may or may not feel the needle enter your skin. If the muscle being needled is tight and/or sensitive you will feel a cramping or twitch sensation. This is very short-lasting, and patients soon learn to recognise this sensation as therapeutic as it is followed by a feeling of pain relief and muscle relaxation.
3. Are there any side effects?
The most common side effect is temporary muscle soreness after the treatment. This typically lasts for a day or two, and your clinician will instruct you on how to minimise this. There are other less common side effects such as bruising. If you have any questions about side effects, please discuss this with your clinician.
4. How does Dry Needling help?
Dry Needling helps to reduce pressure on the nerve by releasing muscle shortening. It is now well researched that the ‘twitch’ response in the muscle during dry needling is associated with the muscle relaxing and stopping the pull on adjacent areas.
5. How often will I need treatment?
Treatments are typically once a week, to allow enough recovery time between treatment sessions. However, this can vary. The number of treatments you will require will depend on many things, such as:
• How long you have had your problem
• The extent of your problem
• How long it takes to address the contributing factors
• How quickly your body can heal Are there any contraindications to Dry Needling?
Prior to treatment please inform your clinician if you are pregnant, or have any of the following:
• Metal allergies or needle phobia
• Axillary or inguinal node dissection
• Joint replacements