What You Need to Know About Dry Needling

Calibrate 2 Jun 2022

Do you tend to experience shoulder, neck, hip, back pain or other muscle and joint pains? Perhaps you feel like your body’s mobility of function could be optimised. And if not, why are you lying to yourself?

Occasional pain or stiffness is normal – especially as we age. However, if you find yourself unable to do the things you would like, or living with constant discomfort then dry needling could well be a solution to help you calibrate your body and move better. Dry needling helps treat pain, and movement impairments, by easing tension and improving the mobility of muscles. Dry needling is similar to acupuncture, but follows western medical principles, applying tiny needles to muscles, tendons and ligaments to simulate adaptation. It is safe, causes minimal discomfort, and is backed by research.

How is Dry Needling Performed

Dry needling in Singapore is performed by specialists such as Osteopaths or Physiotherapists who are trained in the technique and its application. During the procedure, monofilament needles are used to treat muscular ‘trigger points’ or otherwise stimulate change or adaptation in the body. Trigger points are small areas of dysfunctional muscle that can restrict movement and cause discomfort. The number of needles used can vary, depending on your condition, as can the time that they are left inserted – between a few seconds to a few minutes.

What are Trigger Points

The term ‘trigger points’ is used when discussing the application and benefits of dry needling. Trigger points are local areas of contraction within muscle fibers. This type of dysfunction can cause pain, restrict blood flow, range of motion, and joint control. Think of it as driving a car with the brakes on – the engine must work harder to counteract the resistance from the brakes, causing stress. Additionally, the car will not respond to acceleration as anticipated, affecting the driver’s ability to properly maneuver.

When touched, trigger points can be painful and cause pain in other parts of the body as well – a phenomenon known as ‘referred pain’. They may develop when the muscle is overexerted, especially after sports or unaccustomed occupational activities. With dry needling, such trigger points are stimulated to release tensions and ultimately relieve pain.

Local Twitch Responses

A Local Twitch Response (LTR) is how a muscle reacts to dry needling when applied to the trigger point. This reaction is both felt by the patient and therapist and usually indicates successful treatment. When dry needling is applied to a trigger point, the goal is to elicit an LTR, as this usually signifies an alleviation of the local dysfunction – the taut muscle band is released and tightness and sensitivity is reduced.

What Does Dry Needling Feel Like

The needles used for dry needling and much thinner than those used for injections or taking blood. Because of this, it is usually a much more comfortable experience – some people feel nothing, others a tiny pricking sensation, or mild ache. If your therapist is trying to elicit a local twitch response then this can be briefly more uncomfortable – for just a second or two! It’s important to remain relaxed throughout your dry needling treatment, as the more relaxed a muscle is, the more comfortable the process is felt to be.

What to Expect After Dry Needling

The most common side-effect after dry needling is soreness, similar to how you might feel after strenuous exercise. Usually this goes away within 24 hours – the use of ice, heat, gentle exercise and adequate hydration can all help during this recovery time. It is also important to take note and adhere to any rehab programmes prescribed by your Osteopath or Physiotherapist as they will have specific guidance for each individual.

It may take several sessions of dry needling, alongside other interventions such as joint mobilisation, massage, exercise, or stretching, to achieve the desired outcome. The best Osteopaths in Singapore, and the best Physiotherapists in Singapore are able to apply a range of treatments and approaches for the best outcomes.

At Calibrate Health, our skilled and specialised team offers a variety of treatment options including dry needling to tune your body back to its peak. Visit us at Calibrate Health on Orchard Road or contact us for more information today!


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