Dry needling is a technique that chiropractors, physiotherapists and some massage therapists use to help alleviate muscle pain, especially in the neck and shoulder area. It involves inserting a thin needle into the skin and muscle at specific points, known as trigger points. These trigger points are areas of muscle that are tight, tender, and can cause pain in other parts of the body.
The theory behind dry needling is that it can help to release tension in the muscle, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow. It is thought to work by stimulating the central nervous system, which can help to reduce pain and improve muscle function.
Chiropractors, physiotherapists and some massage therapists use dry needling as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for neck and shoulder pain. In addition to dry needling, chiropractors may use techniques such as chiropractic adjustments and massage, while physiotherapists may use techniques such as exercise and stretching.
There is some evidence to support the effectiveness of dry needling for neck and shoulder pain. A review of studies published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that dry needling may be effective for reducing pain and improving function in people with neck pain. Another review published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that dry needling may be effective for reducing pain and improving range of motion in people with shoulder pain.
All techniques involving needles can sometimes cause side effects such as bleeding, bruising, or soreness at the needle site. It is important to speak with a chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist to determine if dry needling is appropriate for your specific needs.
It is also important to note that dry needling is just one tool that our clinicians may use to help alleviate neck and shoulder pain. Other treatments may include chiropractic adjustments, massage, stretching, strapping, and strengthening exercises.