Dry Needling is an avenue to treatment used by many qualified health professionals, with the aim of assisting in reducing musculo-skeletal pain, tightness and ultimately improving function within the body. Dry needling has the ability to improve a number of structures within the body, including muscles, nerves, tendons and joints, specifically targeting myofascial trigger points within muscular structures.

But What is a Myofascial Trigger Point?

It is an area of hyper-sensitivity and irritation located within a taught band of skeletal muscle. It can usually be described like a knot or a small ball of contraction within a muscle and can produce tightness and/or pain within an area of the body. A myofascial trigger points also has the ability to produce what’s called referred pain when compressed or irritated, causing a common and reproducible discomfort referring to another area within the body.

So, How Does Dry Needling Work?

Dry needling uses fine and flexible acupuncture needles to reach superficial or deep soft tissue structures, which may be difficult to get to with your hands. It is inserted into the skin and moved around with the aim of finding the myofascial trigger point or knot in the muscle that is causing your discomfort. When found, the needle will break through the trigger point, stretching the muscular tissue within and result in a number of mechanical and biochemical responses within the muscle including:

  • The release a number of pain reducing chemicals including endorphins, which reduce our perception of pain and corticosteroids, which help regulate the body’s immune response and reduce anti-inflammatory reactions.
  • Encouraging an increase in blood flow toward the area, helping enhance the healing processes within the muscle.

Reflex Response

It is also common for the muscle to produce a mechanical twitch response, which feels like the muscle jumps when the needle hits the myofascial trigger point. This local twitch response is similar to a common reflex response like the knee jerk reflex. This response is completely normal, assisting in relaxation of the muscle, relieving pain and improving musculo-skeletal function.

How Does Dry Needling Help?

Dry needling is a quick and effective avenue available to assist you in reducing your discomfort, enhancing other manual therapy techniques and allowing for greater pain free movement. However it is also important to noted that it is common to experience soreness after receiving dry needling, which can take up to 24 hours to subside before you will notice the positive effects.

If you think dry needling would benefit you, or you would like to chat further with one of our practitioners, feel free to contact us at ATUNE Health Centres.


Article by Atune Osteopath, Noah Malka.