Village Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Shellharbour

Dry Needling

Dry Needling– Have you ever tried dry needling before?

– Do you understand why we sometimes use these techniques in the clinic to help treat myofascial pain?
If you answered no to the above questions, keep reading to find out the aims and outcomes..

Dry needling is used to treat myofascial trigger points (MFTPs). MFTPs are hyperirritable spots often found within a taut band of muscle or fascia and when compressed, can produce tenderness and referred pain.

Effects Of Dry Needling:
– Normalise muscle tone
– Decrease pain
– Restore function

What Causes A Myofascial Trigger Point?
– Injury
– Unexpected/quick movements
– Change in regular activity or muscle loading
– Sustained postures
– Nerve impingement
– Stress
– Illness
– Nutritional deficiencies
– Metabolic or endocrine conditions
(Simons et al., 1999)

How Dry Needling Creates Positive Changes:
Mechanical effects: allows the shortened muscle cell to return to its normal resting length which inncreases blood flow and oxygenation (sustained muscle contractions within taut bands are likely to result in local ischemia and hypoxia in and around the MFTPs).
Chemical effect: the clear mechanism is not well understood, however peripheral opioid analgesia may contribute to inhibiting pain.
Cervical sensitisation: the hyper-stimulation of dry needling can stimulate fibres in the body which impact the higher centres in the brain involved in pain processing – this is believed to result in the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline to significantly modulate pain perception.
– By triggering a local twitch response, the concentrations of nociceptive (pain causing) substances in the chemical environment near MFTPs are reduced.

All of our physiotherapists at the clinic are trained in performing dry needling. Your therapist will only use these techniques if it is the best option for your treatment and only if you feel comfortable with needling. Feel free to ask your physio at the clinic if you have any further questions and if it is safe for you.

Bridget Shirlow