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Dry needling is a quick and effective technique used all over the world to treat musculoskeletal pain. The process involves a fine filament needle which is inserted into a ‘trigger point’ or knot in a muscle.
This can sometimes produce a local twitch response which helps to restore normal tissue function, reduce pain and normalise muscle tone. (1)
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point, also referred to as a knot, is a local tender spot within a taut band of muscle.
Trigger points are typically categorised into two main types:
Is acupuncture the same as dry needling?
Both dry needling and acupuncture use the same needles, however there are considerable differences.
Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago (2). It is based on the philosophy of a balanced flow of ‘chi’ (qi) – the circulating life energy of all living organisms. The ‘chi’ within all living organisms is balanced across all twelve pathways known as ‘meridians’. Each of these twelve pathways is linked to specific organs and their systems. It is believed that blockages and imbalances of these ‘meridians’ can result in pain and illness. There are specific, documented points on the body which can assist in restoring the balance of ‘chi’.
Modern dry needling is based on current medical science and research.
Does dry needling hurt?
Although needles are inserted into the skin and muscle, the needles are so fine, typically pain is not experienced. It can however, produce an unusual sensation within the muscle which can be described as ‘a dance on the end of the needle’. This is simply the muscle twitching and spasming for a short duration, which relieves quickly thereafter. It is this twitch response which is known to restore a muscles structure and function.
Is dry needling safe?
Dry needling is a safe and effective technique, however as with all manual therapy techniques, there are potential side effects such as bruising and bleeding. CSSM uses only clean, individually packaged, single-use sterile needles.
Your practitioner will determine if dry needling is an appropriate technique for you.
Practitioners who practice dry needling at CSSM:
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