Dry NeedlingDry Needling

  • Dry needling is a technique where a solid, very fine needle is inserted into a soft tissue in the body.
  • It is referred to as “dry” needling as nothing is injected, therefore the needle itself is the treatment.

There are 2 types of Dry Needling; Superficial Dry Needling (SDN) and Deep Dry Needling (DDN).

  • Superficial Dry needling involves inserting the needle into the superficial tissues above the Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrps), or subcutaneously over an affected area such as a ligament. This is used to treat pain and referred pain from MTrps, as well as pain from ligaments and joints.
  • Deep Dry needling involves inserting the needle into the actual MTrp. The aim of this is to elicit a local twitch response (LTR) and therefore facilitate release of the MTrp in the muscle. Because of this, Deep Dry Needling is sometimes referred to as intramuscular stimulation.

Deep Dry Needling (DDN)

Deep Dry Needling

In KPC, only our highly trained physiotherapists who have completed extra training carry out DDN. It involves the use of sterile, single-use, disposable needles. First of all, the physiotherapist palpates the trigger point and then they insert a needle into the point. As a result, the client will feel the LTR, which feels like a spasm or twitch in the muscle. Pain may be referred away from the trigger point, usually distally. The LTR can be elicited repeatedly, or else the needle may be ‘wound-up’ in the muscle to stretch the fibres. We may use more than one needle during a session, and the session usually lasts between 5 and 20 minutes.

How does Deep Dry Needling differ from acupuncture?

The main difference between DDN and Acupuncture is the theory and reasoning behind them. Acupuncture is based on the Chinese theory of Meridians, Balance of Yin and Yen, Energy flow etc. In contrast, Deep Dry Needling is Western based and widely researched. It is based on a theory of chemical build up in Myofascial Trigger Points.

Although the techniques are similar, the physiological outcome differs hugely. The only similarity is use of similar needles which are extremely fine, sterile and flexible. They are usually around 0.15mm to 0.3mm in diameter.

Aims of Deep Dry Needling 

  • Rapid relief of pain
  • Improve function
  • Relieve muscle spasm

Why choose DDN?

  • For patients with active Myofascial Trigger points
  • For patients whose symptoms are resistant to treatment
  • As an adjunct to other physiotherapy techniques
  • Treat primary and secondary trigger points with other Muscle release techniques
  • To identify referral sources
  • Chronic Pain

Side effects of Deep Dry Needling

As DDN is an invasive technique, there may be side effects. However, these will all be outlined to you before it is carried out.

Local side effects:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Increased spasm or pain for 2-24 hours after treatment
  • Short term nerve irritation

Autonomic side effects:                   

  • Allergic reaction (very rare )
  • Infection (very rare )
  • Penetration of visceral organ ( very rare )
  • Fainting / Dizziness