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How Does Dry Needling Work? Dry Needling 101

Dry needling is a practice performed by sports therapists and physiotherapists. It is a technique that predominantly treats sports injuries and muscular pain.

Another common name for dry needling is intramuscular stimulation. And that’s essentially what our dry needling techniques aim to do – stimulate the muscles.

But how does dry needling work? And does dry needle therapy work, really?

Dry needling entails inserting a needle into the muscle; however, the needle does not deposit any liquids. Hence, the name ‘dry needling’. It targets and restores muscular function by healing tissue and restoring normal tissue function. The dry needling services on offer at NQ Physio Solutions should not be mistaken for traditional Chinese acupuncture. The dry needling here at NQ is specific, customised treatments that target myofascial trigger points. These treatments target the particular condition. 

What Is Dry Needling?

Let’s start with a fundamental question; what is dry needling?

Dry needling is a technique that targets primarily soft muscle tissue via the use of sterile stainless-steel needles. Dry needling uses very thin, short needles of 0.16 - 0.30mm thickness to pierce the skin and stimulate the muscles. This stimulation encourages the muscle, and the tension it holds, to offer a release.  

Dry needling is rarely used as a singular treatment method. Instead, dry needling is often an adjunct treatment that will accompany other efforts to restore muscular function, increase mobility and reduce pain. At NQ Physio Solutions, we ensure all of our needles are sterile before treatment and are single use for your safety. 

What Does Dry Needling Do?

Many of our clients ask us, “does dry needle therapy work?”. The short answer is yes! We simply wouldn’t bother treating our patients with a type of treatment that has been deemed not useful.

Our client treatment plans are specific to each individual that we see, and some of those treatment plans will include dry needle therapy. We use dry needling in our treatment plans as we have seen tangible results from implementing the technique.

So, what does dry needling do?

Dry needling aims to target the areas of overactivity or tension in the muscle. There are numerous benefits of dry needling, which we will outline below.

The Benefits of Dry Needling

  1. Reduce muscle pain
    Dry needling helps to reduce muscular pain associated with an injury. The way dry needling achieves this targets specific pressure points or sore spots and triggers our nervous system to respond with a chemical or electrical response. This response can trigger pain-relieving chemicals in the brain and therefore reduce pain.
  2. Restores muscular function and range of motion
    Improved mobility is often an immediate outcome of dry needling. This treatment method targets the restoration of muscle function and the release of tension within the muscle explicitly. If you are experiencing a sports injury, dry needling is a method that can help you to return to your sport quickly, by improving the range of motion.
  3. Reduces stiffness
    In addition to reducing muscular pain, dry needling reduces stiffness. Dry needles can release tension and inflammation, therefore reducing overall stiffness.

How Does Dry Needling Work?  

So, how does dry needling work? At NQ Physiotherapy, we understand that some patients may be wary of dry needling treatment. Our team of experienced professionals focus on keeping you calm, comfortable and feeling safe whilst administering your treatment.

The way dry needling works is that the needles are inserted around 3-4mm above the trigger point or the affected area. We use superfine, 0.16 - 0.30mm thick, short, sterile stainless-steel needles to place them into the muscles’ trigger points. The needles will remain there for a short period. The timing of the needles may vary slightly depending on your practitioner and your muscular issue.

Risks Associated with Dry Needling

Now that we have outlined how does dry needling work, we’ll briefly describe some of the risks associated with dry needling. As is with any physical treatment, there is always a few risks involved.

The most common risks associated with dry needling include bruising, haematoma formation, nausea and temporary soreness. Although dry needling is a gentle technique, some clients experience mild discomfort when the needle pierces the skin. However, most symptoms are alleviated within 24 hours. 

Is Dry Needling Right for You?

To find out more about how does dry needling work, check out our Dry Needling in Townsville page. Otherwise, talk to one of our leading Physiotherapists to learn more about your current injury and how dry needling may provide relief.

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