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Dry Needling: Relief from Headaches, Pain & Muscle Tightness

If you have been treated in our clinics before you may have received a therapy called ‘dry needling’. Our Physiotherapy team will often administer dry needling to patients who are encountering muscular pain or tightness.

People are often curious as to what the difference between acupuncture and dry needling is, so today one of  our dry needling experts and chartered physiotherapists, Úna Na Mhainin  explains what dry needling is and what it can do for you.

Dry Needling: The Answer to Headache, Arthritic Pain, Tennis Elbow, Low Back Pain, or Muscle Tightness ?

Dry needling can work wonders on the above conditions and many others to reduce pain and improve movement. I have found it to be clinically one of the most effective manual techniques which I have acquired in my physiotherapy career so far.

If you are not familiar with the treatment let me explain a bit about it…….

Dry needling is a safe Western medicine technique where sterile acupuncture needles are used to alleviate tight bands within an over active muscle. The very fine single filament needles are inserted into the skin and muscle targeting these “triggers points” or “knots”.

These trigger points have been shown to be a large source of local pain, referred pain and restriction. Trigger points are often caused by overuse, increased stress, poor posture or as a response to injury. One very common example of trigger point pain – the dreaded tension headache!

Did you know that headache is commonly caused by referred pain from trigger points in the neck and upper shoulder? The image across is one example of the pattern of pain (highlighted in red) caused by a trigger point (marked by the X).

How can the Dry Needling help?

Well putting it very simply – when the needle is inserted into the trigger point a “twitch” response causes the contracted tight fibres of the muscle to relax. This often has an immediate positive effect on movement and function.

Are There Any Downsides?

The response and tenderness varies from person to person but normally a pin prick sensation is felt when you experience a twitch response but this eases as the muscle relaxes.

You may experience some soreness and a bruised sensation lasting for anything between an hour to 24 hours after the needling session – similar to the achy feeling you get after exercise. 

Your physiotherapist will have been specifically trained and certified in using this technique and will be happy to answer all of your questions if you are interested in this as a form of therapy.

Today’s guest writer Úna, provides treatment from our clinic in Drumcondra, in Dublin. So if you are coming into to see us and would like to be treated  by Úna, be sure to mention her name at the time of booking ! Thanks to Úna for writing today’s post.

Useful links :

Our Dry Needling service page
Dry Needling alleviating Sinus problems

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