What Is Dry Needling?

A number of our practitioners at Canberra City Health Network have additional training in a technique called Dry Needling. Dry Needling involves the use of an acupuncture-type needle that is inserted into the ‘trigger point’ of the muscle. The aim is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain. A trigger point is a tender spot in a tight band of muscle which causes pain when pressed or squeezed.

Dry Needling helps to reduce pain 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.

What Does Dry Needling Help With?

Dry needling can help with many musculoskeletal complaints. Our trained therapists can determine whether dry needling is suitable for you. It is a technique that works well in conjunction with Osteopathy, Physiotherapy and Remedial Massage Therapy.

Some presentations that Dry Needling can help with include (but are not limited to):

Does It Hurt?

The needles used are very thin, and you may or may not feel the needle enter your skin. If the target muscle is shortened and hypersensitive 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 Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Remedial Massage Therapist.

How Is It Different To Acupuncture?

Dry needling only focuses on muscular trigger points that cause restriction and/or pain.

Acupuncture is a traditional form of therapy that focuses on restoring the energy balance (chi) to the body via unblocking restrictions in meridians throughout the body.

[Ref: Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association LTD and Global Education of Manual Therapists]