Dry needling is a technique performed with acupuncture needles, but over the trigger points of your painful muscles. The needle used for this technique is very fine and there is no injection with dry needling. Unlike acupuncture, dry needling doesn’t require the needles to stay in once a local twitch in the muscle is triggered; therefore the treatment of each muscle is done very quickly. The areas needing treatment do require the skin to be exposed, so depending on the body region to be treated, shorts, a tank top or a gown may be necessary to wear in order to provide access to any affected muscles.
After your treatment, it is common to have some local aching over the area of treatment, which usually dissipates between 4-8 hours after the treatment. Bruising can also occur, but this is less common.(20) Improvement in pain and mobility is typically noted immediately following treatment, however more chronic conditions can take up to 4-6 treatments to notice lasting changes. Some fatigue on the same day of treatment can also occur.
It is recommended to avoid strenuous activity or strength training on the same day following treatment until you know how your body and muscles respond to the dry needling treatment. Light activity, range of motion exercises and/or heat may be recommended for you following your treatment; this is discussed with your physiotherapists at the appointment.
How to Best Prepare for your Dry Needling Treatment:
- Have a snack or light meal prior to your treatment
- Be well rested if possible
- Be well hydrated
- Avoid getting dry needling if you are sick or have a fever
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes prior to a needling session
Advise your physiotherapist of the following:
- All medical conditions
- Medications you are taking
- Past surgeries including any pacemakers, implants or joint replacements
- History of bacterial endocarditis (heart infection) or heart valve replacement
- Allergies to surgical steel or skin prep chemicals