What is dry needling?

Patient receiving dry needling

Dry needling is a type of treatment that involves inserting needles into the skin for therapeutic purposes. While there are some similarities with acupuncture, dry needling is a modern technique that was developed based on medical research into pain science.

There are many different types of dry needling techniques. In most cases, the practitioner will target a muscle knot or trigger point that is causing the pain.

The needles are then stimulated with various techniques such as manual pressure, tapping or twisting to activate the sensory and motor nerves under your skin. This treatment can be used for various conditions, including chronic pain and limited motion.

In this article, we explain what is dry needling, how it differs from acupuncture, and what sort of conditions it can be used to treat.

Types of Needling

This procedure is called dry needling because no fluid is injected into the tissue. It uses a very fine needle, called a filiform needle, which is inserted into the skin and muscle.

There are several techniques for dry needling. Some forms of the treatment are used to manipulate specific muscles, while others focus on trigger points.

  • Trigger point dry needling: This is the most well-known form of dry needling. It involves inserting a needle into specific points along taut bands of muscle, known as trigger points.
  • Superficial dry needling: In this technique, practitioners insert the needle just a few millimetres into the skin so it does not reach the muscle.
  • Deep dry needling: Deep dry needling is used to target muscles and trigger points located deeper in the body.
  • Electrical stimulation: In some cases, the needle is connected to a machine that delivers an electrical stimulus directly to the muscle tissue.

Dry Needling vs Acupuncture

Dry needling and acupuncture may sound like the same thing, but there are several differences between the two treatments:

  • Dry needling is a modern technique, while acupuncture has been practised for thousands of years.
  • Dry needling is based on modern medical research, while acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine.
  • With acupuncture, needles are inserted into points along “meridian lines”, which are said to transfer energy around the body. Meridian lines are used in traditional Chinese medicine but are not recognised by modern medicine. With dry needling, needles are inserted into specific points that correspond to pain or dysfunction.
  • Dry needling is used to treat chronic and acute pain, while acupuncture is a complementary therapy that may treat a wide variety of physical and mental health conditions.

The Benefits of Dry Needling

Studies have shown that dry needling can be effective in treating a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Muscular pain and stiffness
  • Myofascial pain
  • Chronic tension headaches
  • Sports injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Back pain

Dry needling is a relatively simple procedure that can be performed by a trained chiropractor. While the procedure can be uncomfortable in some cases, it can provide instant relief from the pain you may have been suffering from for months.

Apart from pain relief, some of the other benefits of dry needling include:

  • Improved range of motion and flexibility
  • Decreased recovery time from injuries
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Increased blood flow to the affected area, which can speed up healing
  • Improvement of chronic pain conditions

When to Get Dry Needling

If you are experiencing musculoskeletal pain, tension headaches, sports injuries or any other condition that has been unsuccessfully treated with conventional methods, you may want to consider dry needling.

Dry needling is most effective when combined with other therapy techniques such as massage and stretches. A chiropractor will recommend a treatment plan that is tailored specifically for your needs.

If you are wondering “where can I try dry needling near me?” it is crucial to find a qualified and experienced chiropractor who has been trained in the correct techniques for treating your condition. You can contact our team at Our Chiro Brisbane for a personal consultation to see if dry needling is the right treatment for you.


National Library of Medicine – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28158962/

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