Dry needling on the most part should be a pain free process.
As you can tell from the name, Dry needling does not involve liquid or injectables, the effects of the needle in itself is the treatment. Dry Needling is a form of treatment that uses a sterilised solid filament needle, which your practitioner will insert through the skin to the selected muscular trigger point in order to release tension.
What is a muscular trigger point I hear you ask? Well, this is what most people refer to as a “knot” in the muscle. The raised or painful ball-like feeling you get on a certain band in the muscle. A trigger point by definition is a hyper-irritable palpable nodule of connective tissue/fascia or muscle that becomes painful when compressed. Sometimes pressing on a trigger point can cause referred pain, which usually follow a pattern distant to the site of pain. This means, for example pain in the forearm could be caused by an issue in the shoulder. Before using dry needling osteopathic practitioners will assess not just specific causes of pain, but look more holistically
One common question asked is whether Dry needling and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCA) are the same. Although similarities include the same type of needle being inserted through the skin; the theory and overall objective are not. TCA in general uses many needles across the body and they are usually kept inserted for upwards of 45-60 minutes (time can vary across condition and practitioner). TCA involves the meridian Eastern medicine aiming to re-establish Chi or energy back to the body. Dry Needling uses assessment of the muscular-skeletal system in order to release tension from trigger points throughout the body. Needles in general are not kept in for more than a few minutes at a time. The aim is to create a local twitch reflex response, a stimulus that occurs fairly quickly. After which, it reduces chemical irritation, improve flexibility, decrease pain and muscle contraction. Another benefit from inserting the needle and cutting through many muscle fibers, is that this may cause an activation of both an immune and inflammatory response. This occurs as the body tries to figure out this foreign item, triggering both the immune and inflammatory responses to work throughout the body and not just locally.
Dry needling on the most part should be a pain free process. There are times where you may feel a scratch like sensation whilst the needle is being inserted. There are also times when the needle makes contact with a nerve ending causing a tingling effect, this will mostly be short lived and will usually disappear. During dry needling there is also no drawing of blood from the skin.
At The Osteopathic Centre all of the practitioners who practice dry needling are UK GOSC qualified Osteopaths. This unique advantage gives us the opportunity to assess whether this is the best form of treatment to use and whether you are medically suitable for this type of treatment approach. Dry needling is also used in conjunction with other forms of osteopathic techniques tailored to give you the best response.