What Is Dry Needling?

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is a technique performed by qualified and well trained health professionals. Dry needling uses a fine needle to insert into a targeted muscle with a trigger point to elicit a “twitch” response from the muscles. This technique can assist in acute or chronic pain.


Dry needling vs acupuncture

  • Both dry needling and acupuncture use the same needle to perform treatment
  • Both are very low risk procedure
  • Dry needling requires a thorough assessment of the patient in order to optimise the result. Acupuncture has a fixed point in the body that an acupuncturist will insert a needle into.
  • Dry needling uses one needle at a time and the needle will be in the body for a maximum of 15seconds. Acupuncture uses multiple needles throughout the body and the needle may stay in the body for 5-10min.


What is a trigger point and what will you feel during dry needling?

There are two types of trigger point. An active trigger point and latent trigger point.

Active trigger point: When touched, it straight away produce patient’s symptoms locally or referred

Latent trigger point: A sore spot that may or may not have the same symptoms as the patient is experiencing

During dry needling, patients might not even feel the needling going into the skin. Different size needles are targeted to different muscles. For example, a deep lower back extensor muscle multifidus will require a longer needle in order to reach that deep. Although the needle is longer, the experience of what they feel during dry needling depends on the individual’s muscle tightness, pain tolerance and whether they have a fear of needles.


How does the process work?

In limp in leap out physiotherapy, we DO NOT perform dry needling during the first consultation.

During the first session, physiotherapists will conduct a standard initial consultation by asking a series of questions and perform a thorough assessment of the issue. We will start treating by performing manual therapy techniques, prescribing exercises. During the session, the therapist will assess if the person may benefit from dry needling. If they are, we will explain what dry needling is and how they may benefit from it.

When patients come back for the second session, we will perform dry needling after they have a better understanding of what it is. The goal of dry needling is to find a trigger point and release it by using needles. The effect can take place immediately after the procedure.

After dry needling, the patient may feel tired and muscle soreness. The best thing to do in order to optimise recovery is to have a small sleep and stay hydrated throughout the day after needling.


This information can be used to gain a better understanding of dry needling. To find out more about how we can help, or to book in for a consultation you can contact us via our Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness contact us page, or book online here.

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