What Is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling

Dry Needling is a form of acupuncture used to eliminate trigger points found in taut bands within tight muscle tissue that is stuck in contracture. Dry needling works best combined with massage as the massage loosens the muscle tissue and the dry needling targets the trigger points that are usually the cause of muscle pain. Trigger points (also more commonly known as pressure points or knots) are present in all chronic muscle pain and in most acute pain. These points are small, hyper-irritable nodules in the taut bands that will commonly refer pain elsewhere in the body and are classed as either active or latent depending on the characteristics of the symptoms.

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How Does Dry Needling Work?

Dry Needling works by perpendicularly inserting through the layers of skin and into the muscle tissue where the taut band is located. The needles used at Richmond Rehab are top-of-the-range Sensei Japanese sterilised steel needles with lengths between 30mm-75mm and a gauge around 0.22mm-0.30mm.
The practitioner will sterilise the area prior to needling and then insert the needles aiming for the trigger points. When the needle makes contact with the trigger point the patient will feel a local pain at the site of the trigger point with a dull, broad referral pain depending on the type of trigger point and a twitch response which is the muscle being stimulated from the spontaneous electrical activity that occurs in our bodies.

Dry needling is really effective combined with massage as the massage is used to loosen a broader area of the body where dry needling is used to treat the specific points of pain and dysfunction.

As seen in this image, the upper aspect of the trapezius muscle is a very common site for tightness especially for those who hunch their shoulders. The practitioner would massage the whole upper back, shoulder region and neck followed by dry needling specifically the upper trapezius being the cause of the pain with the surrounding muscle tissue in the upper back region being secondary.

All therapists at Richmond Rehab are qualified to perform dry needling under their associations and have had minimum 3 years experience in the field. All dry-needling sessions are completely safe, done in a sterile environment and can be a great alternative form of treatment for your pain in the future.