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Dry Needling for Neck Pain

Dry Needling for Neck Pain


What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is the process of inserting sterile single-use filiform needles, the same used in acupuncture, into myofascial (muscular) trigger points. These trigger points are tight and painful knots within the muscles that cause acute or chronic pain. They typically develop as a result of injuries from overuse, heavy lifting, or repetitive motions, as a result of poor posture or due to prolonged sitting and lack of exercise. Dry needling can be used to treat any condition where muscle pain or tightness is an issue, including neck and shoulder pain.

Dry needling is sometimes referred to as western acupuncture due to its similarities, however there is one main difference. Traditional acupuncture is based on Chinese medicine and aims to stimulate a therapeutic effect in the body, placing the filiform needles in specific areas to restore the body’s energy flow, based on the meridian body chart. Dry needling on the other hand differs as needles are inserted into the affected muscles in order to deactivate trigger points caused by myofascial pain.

How Can Dry Needling Help Neck Pain?

The main effects of undertaking dry needling treatment are:

  • Decreased muscle spasms and any associated pain
  • Increased blood flow to the affected area which in turn promotes healing
  • Decreased muscle tightness and thus increased joint mobility

Is Dry Needling Painful?

When it comes to dry needling, here at Ballsbridge Physio we aim to minimise any associated pain during treatment. The needles used vary in size, dependent of where the pain is located and the type of injury. Some people may feel a small pinprick as the needle is inserted and sometimes a muscle ache or twitch can be experienced, both of which are normal and only temporary. The needles are only left for approximately 3-5 minutes, depending on the area being treated. There is very little risk associated with dry needling when performed correctly by an experienced practitioner. Some patients may experience a little bleeding or bruising post treatment but this is nothing to be worried about.

If you are suffering from neck pain and are interested in dry needle therapy, our physiotherapist Aileen MaGuire is a qualified dry needling practitioner. Through assessment she will identify the areas in which treatment will be required and advise you on a treatment programme. Often, dry needling is accompanied with a range of other physiotherapy treatments such as manual therapy to ensure that you achieve optimal pain relief and recovery. Other treatments such as strengthening and stretching exercises, posture re-education and advice on ergonomics may also be included. If you would like to know about dry needling treatment or would like to book an appointment, contact us here.

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