At the Diamond Valley Foot & Ankle Clinic in Greensborough we offer Dry Needling as a form of treatment for muscle injuries and painful symptoms, we often get asked the following:
What is Dry Needling?
Musculoskeletal injuries can be treated with the use of dry needling. Injury to the muscles through an acute event, overuse of a muscle or through poor foot mechanics, can cause painful knots or myofascial trigger points to develop in the muscle belly. These knots may impair proper function of the muscle itself and cause painful symptoms associated with an injury. In most cases, the site of pain can be caused by a trigger point elsewhere in the lower limb. For example, the trigger points for heel pain are often referred from the calf hence treatment would focus on inserting needles into the calf muscles. Dry needling involves inserting a very fine acupuncture type needle into the myofascial trigger point.
How does it work?
Although the exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, the stimulation of the trigger point through dry needling has been shown to increase blood flow to the area, reduce the tautness of the muscular knot and also has an impact on improving nerve function.
Dry needling is often used by Podiatrists, Physiotherapists, Myotherapists and Osteopaths to treat many lower limb injuries and is found to be most effective when used in conjunction with other treatments such as orthotic devices as well as a stretching and strengthening program. These additional therapies are vital in addressing the underlying biomechanical cause and rehabilitating the injured muscles respectively.
Is it the same as acupuncture?
While Acupuncture and Dry Needling appear similar are not the same treatment. Dry needling is done into muscle trigger points that correlate with patients’ pain symptoms. Acupuncture is based on principals of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including channel theory, the stimulation of life force Chi, and selection of local and distal found on acupuncture meridians. So while the needles used are similar the actual application of the needles and assessment of where they are to be placed are very different.
What should I expect from a treatment?
It is not like getting an injection. There is no fluid being injected into your body and the acupuncture needles we use are very thin with many patients reporting they do not feel the needle being inserted at all. You may feel a muscular twitch or electrical “zap” during your treatment. This signifies that the trigger point has been stimulated however not every patient will feel this sensation. The needles are left in place for approximately 5-10 minutes. Usually patients will require 5-6 needling sessions
After treatment, especially the initial session of needling, patient’s may feel muscle soreness in the treated area. Application of heat to the needling area is advised as it will increase blood flow to the area and reduce any stiffness or pain. Bruising where the needles have been placed is also common.
Dry needling is an additional therapy that can enhance the healing process and aid in rehabilitating muscles.
If you think you may require dry needling or you would like to know more about dry needling and treatments at the Diamond Valley Foot & Ankle Clinic contact us on 9434 4422 and book an appointment today!