Dry needling & physiotherapy: How to combine these treatments for effective pain relief
Dry needling is a physiotherapy technique focusing on pain relief and it often goes hand in hand with our treatments here at Graceville Physio. It is a great technique for anyone suffering from muscle pain or movement impairment caused by acute or chronic injury.
While physiotherapy and dry needling techniques often complement each other, not all physiotherapists are qualified to offer needling services. Our physiotherapists, however, have gained necessary qualifications accredited by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Thus, our expertise and experience makes us a preferred provider of these services in the Brisbane area.
What is Dry Needling?
Many physiotherapists are now using Dry Needling- or dry needling (when a physio uses it), as it has been shown to have great healing effects.
Penetration of the needle stimulates an effect at that site. The needle also stimulates the nerve fibres. These fibres then set up a central nervous system reaction. Basically, the brain knows something is going on and sends in the helpers to heal the area.
Local vasodilatation occurs and local immune responses are stimulated.
Dry Needling is well known as an ancient form of healing.
What is the purpose of dry needling in physiotherapy?
Dry needling forms a part of our treatment range for conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system and is a type of physiotherapy treatment that focuses on ensuring the body is moving optimally and free from pain.
It is used primarily for decreasing muscle tightness and spasms, relieving pain, activating muscles correctly and relaxing tight muscles.
We have found in our clinic that dry needling is of most benefit to people suffering from:
- Acute sporting injuries
- Lower back pain and neck pain (including tension and postural problems)
- Pelvic pain
- Elbow and wrist tendonitis
- Rotator cuff issues and general shoulder pain
- Foot and ankle problems including achilles pain and tendonitis
- Buttock and leg pain (including sciatic pain)
- Hamstring strains, knee pain and calf tightness or cramps
How does dry needling work?
Also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), dry needling involves the needling of a muscle’s trigger points without any medication or substances injected into the muscle. A single use, thin needle (similar to the needles used in acupuncture) is inserted into the skin and muscle to release pain from specific points in the muscle.
These points are known as myofascial trigger points which are a collection of small muscle fibre knots contracted into each other. These knots are related to the sensation of pain in the overall muscle and dry needling is used to help release these knots and relieve the associated pain in the muscles.
Does dry needling hurt?
Other than an initial twitch, most people do not feel a thing! When dry needling is performed correctly, there will be a minor twitch response that is an involuntary contraction of the muscle fibres around the area being treated. This twitch response is a natural reflex stemming from your spinal cord and indicates proper placement of a needle in the targeted trigger point.
Is dry needling different to acupuncture?
The short answer is yes. While both of these techniques involve inserting thin needles into various parts of the body, the similarity stops there. Dry needling specifically focuses on releasing myofascial (muscular) trigger points.
Side effects and working out after a session
It is common to feel some aches and general soreness after a treatment which can last for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Once this soreness has subsided, there is usually an improvement in the initial symptoms of the treated area though some conditions may require a few treatments to fully resolve pain.
Applying heat or ice over the treated area after a dry needling session may help alleviate post treatment soreness faster. You may also be advised to modify your exercise or activity program for a few days after the treatment in order to gain the best results.
How much does a session cost and how can I book in?
A dry needling session can be booked in as part of a regular physiotherapy treatment session or you can book in for a stand alone dry needling session. Sessions are around 30 minutes on average though if your physiotherapist thinks you will benefit from leaving the needles in for a period of time at the end of the session, you may end up having a longer consultation (there is no extra charge for this).
Consultations with our specialist sports physio cost $136 and consultations with a physiotherapist are $126 each.
Remedial Massage treatment can incorporate dry needling as part of the treatment for $99 each.
If you’re based near Brisbane and looking for dry needling or other effective pain relief techniques, you can contact us on (07) 3278 1186 or book a treatment online. We also service suburbs near Graceville including Indooroopilly, Yeronga, Sherwood, Oxley, Corinda, Tennyson and Chelmer.