As mentioned in a previous blog, dry needling is a useful tool alongside our regular therapeutic treatments for reducing tension in very tight tissues which may be causing pain or impairing normal movement and function. It stimulates your soft tissues – that is the muscles, tendons, and ligaments – to improve their function. One of the issues that we incorporate dry needling as a treatment for is pain. There are many causes of pain in the upper limb; one that we often is encounter is pain which results from tight, inflamed tissues and nerves which are compressed by tight tissue.

For example, sometimes patients may experience hand or forearm pain which is the result of their median nerve being under too much pressure by an overlying muscle which is tight. The pronator teres muscle lies on the anterior surface of the proximal forearm and passes over the median nerve. Its role is to rotate the forearm so the palm faces your feet – the position we call pronation. This muscle can get tight with heavy use, and this can cause compression of the median nerve and subsequently cause pain. In another area of the forearm, radial nerve compression is also a condition which we can incorporate dry needling into, with good effect.

Pain is not always related to nerve issues. Sometimes muscles are tight and inflamed in chronic conditions, such as lateral epicondylitis (often referred to as tennis elbow). Along with other treatments, we incorporate dry needling to reduce tension of these very tight, painful muscles and tendons. This can be effective in reducing the associated pain, and assist in helping the damaged tissues tolerate exercise to speed up recovery.

While we rarely use one treatment method by itself, dry needling has proven itself to be a valuable tool in assisting with pain management and restoration of normal function.

Is it safe?

Dry needling is safe.  Needles used are sterile, individualy packaged and single use only.  Your therapist will always use the needling techniques in accordance with the Australian guidelines for safe dry needling.

What will you feel?

During treatment you may feel a brief sharp sensation after a needle is inserted.  Not everyone has the same experience and many times people cannot feel much at all.  You may feel a dull ache, tingling or twitching throughout treatment.  It is uncommon, but you may feel light headed or unwell during treatment and if you are worried about this, talk to the therapist.