What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is gaining popularity in the last decades. In the UAE, more and more people are getting curious about how this treatment works and how it can benefit the body. If it is your first time to hear about this technique, then it is best to learn more about this effective method of healing. So, what is dry needling? It is basically a technique used by experienced, trained, and skilled physiotherapist to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and increase flexibility. True to its name, dry needling is called “dry” because it does not use any medication or liquid injection as part of the treatment.

Some people mistakenly thought that dry needling and acupuncture are one and the same. Why not? If you happen to see a photo of people using therapeutic needles, you would have a hard time determining what type of treatment is being used. To set the record straight, physio dry needling and acupuncture are two different things. While both use needles and insert them into the skin to treat pain, there are key differences. For one, acupuncture has been around for thousands of years now. On the other hand, dry needling has been developed after extensive and meticulous years of research. Dry needling is based on modern western medical principles. Another difference between the two is that acupuncture is designed to open up a person’s chi or better known as the energy flow. However, dry needling aims to stimulate and release “trigger points.” When it comes to dry needling, a practitioner inserts thin, short, stainless, and clean filiform needles into the skin. Because of how dry needling penetrates through the tissue and muscle, it is sometimes referred to as intramuscular stimulation. The main target of the needles is sore, knotted, or hard muscles. Dry needling is most often used when normal massage and superficial muscle stimulation are not enough. In most cases, dry needling is the treatment of choice for more persistent pain.

Normally, dry needling is only one part of the whole regimen of treatment. Most often, it is done together with other physiotherapy methods. Damaged tissue contracts to avoid further injury. The constant contraction of the muscle restricts the free flow of blood and thus, the flow of oxygen and nutrients. Eventually, the continual contraction of the muscle reduces muscle movement, irritates nerves, and alters body movement. With dry needling, a thin needle is inserted to target the painful contraction of the muscle and stimulates a local twitch reflex to “release” the muscle from contracting. The release of the knotted muscle results to decrease pain and supports tissue healing.