What is Dry Needling?

The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre has a number of clinicians who use Dry Needling as a therapeutic technique.

You may have heard the term ‘dry needling’ being bandied around the office whilst your colleagues exchange stories about their experiences with their physiotherapist, but what is dry needling exactly?

There seems to be some confusion about the difference between dry needling and acupuncture which is not surprising given both practices use the same instrument.

The biggest difference between the two is that acupuncture originates from a Chinese model of medicine and is concerned with superficial energy points and meridian lines. Dry needling in contrast is based on a Western model and involves a deeper intramuscular type of needling.

During dry needling the practitioner locates the active trigger point which they have identified as being responsible for causing the painful symptoms or movement dysfunction.

The needle is tapped into this point and then either left in place, or drawn in and out of the muscle in order to elicit a local twitch response. A local twitch response feels like a muscle spasm and occurs due to an involuntary spinal cord reflex.

This phenomenon induces the release of chemical substances that relax the contracted muscle fibres and increase muscle length.

Lengthening a muscle using dry needling improves flexibility and reduces pain associated with injuries or poor biomechanics.

What is it used to treat?

The following common problems can be effectively treated with dry needling.

  • Acute/chronic neck pain
  • Acute/chronic back pain
  • Cervicogenic headache
  • Jaw pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tennis/golfer’s elbow
  • Groin pain
  • Buttock pain
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Achilles tendonosis
  • Plantar fasciitis

This article was written by GEMT Accredited Dry Needling Physiotherapist Geneview Smith.  

If you wish to book online to see Genevieve and you are an existing patient of The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre or the co-located Midtown Medical Clinic please click here.

If you wish to book online to see Kathy and you are a new patient to The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre or the co-located Midtown Medical Clinic please click here.

Alternatively feel free to phone us on 9650 9372.