Deep dry needling is a treatment technique using acupuncture needles to release painful trigger points in muscles. It is delivered by a specially trained Physiotherapist and is called dry needling simply because a needle is inserted with no additional substances or medication.
Is it like acupuncture?
It is similar to acupuncture in that it involves the use of needles, however rather than focusing on energy points, Deep Dry Needling focuses on treating painful trigger points in muscles.
What is a 'trigger point'?
A trigger point is a tender point within a taut band of muscle which may be injured or overworked. The trigger point can give localised or referred pain. For example a trigger point in one of the buttock muscles can produce pain down the leg which may feel like sciatica. Trigger points can be located by your physiotherapist by careful examination of the muscle. It is felt as a nodule which may be tender or sensitive to the touch and may reproduce the pain you are experiencing.
What to expect
A sterile single use disposable needle is inserted into the trigger point. As the needle is inserted a prick will be felt followed by your pain, whether locally or referred (e.g. pain down the leg). Often a localised twitch response may be felt as the muscle releases. The needle may be repositioned several times until the pain sensation resolves. Often you will not feel the needle being removed because the trigger point has been released. It may take 2-3 treatment sessions to resolve the pain related to the trigger point, especially if it has been present for an extended period of time.
What can I expect afterwards?
You may feel sore locally for 48-72 hours, some patients feel instantly better. Some patients show no sign of the needle having been inserted, whilst other patients may get a bruise or a slight lump, both of which subside. In most cases you will be given stretches and strengthening exercises accordingly to help prevent recurrence. Other physiotherapy treatment techniques may be used alongside Deep Dry Needling. It is important to avoid exercising on the same day as treatment, as the muscle will need time to recover.
Occasional side effects
Afterwards some patients may feel faint or dizzy and for this reason we advise that you eat and drink at least 2 hours before treatment. Your physiotherapist will discuss your medical history, allergies and risk factors with you to ensure that you are suitable for the treatment.