Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling uses fine acupuncture needles to target active trigger points within muscles to restore muscle function and tissue healing.  The tiny needles cause micro trauma to the muscle tissue, which stimulates the body’s own natural repair process replacing damaged tissue with healthy tissue.

How does it work?

Needling a painful trigger point or a knot in the muscle causes a “twitch” response from the muscle, which feels like a small muscle cramp. A healthy muscle will not “twitch” when stimulated with a needle. This differentiation is helpful for diagnosing unhealthy or tight muscles. Once a “twitch” response has been elicited, the muscles fibres relax, inflammation is reduced and circulation improves.

How is it different to acupuncture?

Dry needling is different to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) acupuncture. TCM acupuncture is based on ‘meridians’ and ‘pulses’ derived from ancient Chinese philosophy and culture. Dry needling is based on current medical science and research and has evolved from the work of Dr Janet Travell and Dr David Simons from the 1940’s. These physicians found that trigger points in muscles refer pain in specific patterns, for example a trigger point in the upper trapezius muscle can refer pain to the head causing a headache.

Who is it for?

Dry needling is not just used to treat headaches, back and neck pain. Dry needling can improve physical performance in athletes by reducing the muscular stress that accumulates in the body with repetitive exercise. Dry needling has the ability to improve muscle function without the use of drugs by targeting the body’s mechanisms of tissue healing and pain relief. It is a new and safe treatment which works best when used in conjunction with physiotherapy treatment such as massage, stretching, strengthening and kinesio taping.

Calf Pain

At the age of 39 I was in my 3rd year of running at a harriers club and had begun training for my first marathon. Unfortunately during a race my left calf suffered from what I can only describe as "severe cramp type" pain. This injury didn't ease over the next week or so and I was not able to run more than 1-2 km before having to stop again due to the discomfort.

I had previously received great treatment from New Lynn Physiotherapy for a torn hamstring so I had no hesitation in enlisting their help again.

After my initial assessment I was started on a course of 'dry needling' sessions – a procedure where fine needles are used similar to acupuncture. Despite it being my first experience with dry needling I was quickly reassured by Nicky's pleasant and professional manner and looked forward to the next session bringing further release to the affected areas. The distances that I was able to run without the calf pain began to increase again enabling me to resume my training and 3 months later successfully complete my first marathon.

Thank you New Lynn Physio.

Peter Elsey, NZCE