Dry needling in Sydney
Dry needling is the therapeutic technique where a chiropractor or physiotherapist inserts a small needle into an irritated section of a muscle called a trigger point. There is good research and data to support this technique for a range of different muscle and joint problems (musculoskeletal conditions).
When most people hear the word needle they assume that this is a painful procedure however, fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases of dry needling absolutely no pain is felt at all. Dry needles are rather small and only need to be large enough to get to the muscle where they are needed. There are also other needles that are designed to only penetrate the skin and are even smaller.
What are trigger points?
Trigger points are sore points in muscles. They are rather complex in the way they are created and behave however for our purposes they can be known as ‘sore spots in muscles’. Essentially that’s all they are, however these sore and tight spots in muscles can be rather hard to get rid of and this has lead to dry needling that is an effective way to get rid of them.
Does dry needling hurt?
Absolutely not, dry needling is intended to be painless. In fact with the way the body senses light touch and sharp pricks sometimes you will not feel this at all. A common example of this would be the low back and buttock region. If it is likely that you will feel the dry needle being inserted one of our chiropractors or physiotherapists will tell you. If you are extra worried we will just ice the area up for you and make it numb.
What can dry needling treat?
Trigger points can exist by themselves or be apart of other problems. Common examples of conditions that causes irritated muscles and local trigger points would be hip osteoarthritis and rotator cuff problems. Dry needling to remove these painful areas will treat pain and soreness throughout irritated structures but it will not heal the actual rotator cuff problems or hip arthritis mentioned above. Therefore dry needling is an excellence gateway therapy. This simply means chiropractors or physiotherapists can remove you pain with dry needling and this will allow you to do other things such as rotator cuff exercises to actually fix your problem.
The reality is that some people are just far too sore to do their exercises for conditions like rotator cuff tears or low back pain. If dry needling is successful at reducing enough pain for people perform their exercises then you can see how dry needling has formed the basis of a successful multi-modal treatment approach.
What can’t dry needling treat?
As you said in the previous section dry needling can do the following two things. The first is, dry needling can successfully reduce muscle and joint pain that is coming from a problem in the muscle. The second thing that dry needling can do is reduce and remove enough pain to allow people to do exercises that fix the underlying cause of the problem.
For example in a disc herniation of the low back, there is typically large amount of muscle spasm and referred pain. To help this problem we need to get the patient to reduce their pain and spasm in order to carry out exercises to desensitise and reduce the disc herniation. Dry needling in the low back and gluteal muscle allows for pain reduction and reduce muscle spasm. This will allow patients to feel better and perform their exercises. Please note though, dry needling cannot fix the actual disc herniation.
Conditions that can be helped with dry needling
- Achilles pain
- Calf pain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- Neck pain
- Mid back pain
- Low back pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rotator cuff problems (tears, strains)
- Subacromial shoulder pain
- Wrist and forearm pain