What Is Dry Needling Therapy And How Does It Work?
Dry needling therapy works by stimulating muscular (myofascial) trigger points through the insertion of a very fine needle, like a small acupuncture needle. The needle touching the muscle fibres at the trigger point causes them to twitch, then relax. This leads to the relaxation of the muscles.
The process also stimulates the production of several different chemical compounds in the brain, including serotonin and endorphins. These compounds, known as “feel good” chemicals, help to alleviate pain and discomfort, as well as enhance mood and reduce anxiety.
What Benefits Can Dry Needling Provide?
The benefits that patients can expect to experience include:
- Improved range of movement
- Reduced swelling
- Quicker healing and recover
What Conditions Can It Be Used For?
Dry needling can be used to treat many foot conditions that are due to tight muscle groups in the leg. Typical examples include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Calf tightness
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Peroneal tendonitis
- RSI type injuries, associated with too much walking or standing
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB)
What To Expect During Treatment
Before treatment, your podiatrist will already have taken a complete medical history and examined your foot and leg to determine that dry needling therapy is going to be an appropriate treatment.
Patients will usually need to sit or lie on the treatment chair, wearing shorts. The podiatrist will insert very fine, sterile needles at the affected musculofascial trigger points. Most people can feel the needles, but they don’t cause pain as such but can be a little uncomfortable. The length of time the needles are in varies – it can be anything from a few seconds to fifteen minutes.
Once the needles are removed, the treatment is over. Some people may feel a little sore or stiff where the needles have been inserted over the next 24 hours but gentle stretching can help relieve this tension, before seeing an improvement in their symptoms.