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.
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
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.
Dry Needling helps to release 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.
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
Prior to treatment please inform your clinician if you are pregnant, or have any of the following:
· Metal allergies
· Axillary or inguinal node dissection
· Joint replacement
· Needle phobia
While the risks are very small, but there are some risks to consider when having Dry Needling:
· Pneumothorax: This occurs when the needle pierces the lung. The possibility is remote as our clinicians will needle with caution near lung fields, but they will advise you when they are in this area. If you do feel short of breath or pain with breathing after a needling session in this area, visit your local Emergency Department immediately.
· Vasovagal reaction: This occurs rarely and is the most common form of fainting, usually recurrent to a specific trigger (which can be dry needling). In most cases, this resolves with a few minutes of rest and some sugar intake. Ensuring you are well hydrated, rested and have eaten a meal in the past 6 hours reduces this risk. If you have had a fainting episode from needling/injections in the past, please inform our clinicians.
· Infection: The possibility is present, even though it is remote. Our clinicians will maintain the highest standard for clean and sterile needling techniques, however it is an entry wound for infection to occur, similar with any injection you have had in the past. Keep the wound clean until it heals.
Please discuss any further question or concerns with your clinician.