Dry Needling and Osteopathy

Dry Needling and Osteopathy

Have you ever experienced pain so intense that it felt like your muscles were tearing? Have you ever complained about on-going muscle tightness, that just never seems to ease? This is  what many people with muscular pain experience on a regular basis. 

Luckily, there are treatments available for this type of pain, such as dry needling and Osteopathy.

Dry needling and Osteopathy are two therapies that have been used to help reduce pain levels in people who suffer with muscular tension or spasms. 

The fundamentals of osteopathy

The primary focus of the Osteopath is to seek out the source of pain, diagnose the problem and provide a pathway to better health and wellness.  They look at the body as a whole unit. That is, looking at the integration of muscle, nerves, bones, ligaments and organs. Ensuring all these systems are working harmoniously together. Dysfunction or “disease”  can upset this balance, resulting in pain, irritation and negative compensation patterns. Our Osteopath’s  use hands on manual therapies in conjunction with self management strategies to rebalance the bodies systems. This creates equilibrium as well as providing long term solutions and pain relief. 

Osteopaths offer a solution-focused approach to treating musculoskeletal problems such as:

  • Back and hip pain
  • Postural imbalances 
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Pregnancy pain
  • Wrist and hand pain
  • Knee and leg pain
  • Foot and ankle pain
  • Sporting injuries
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries – Tennis Elbow
  • Headaches and migraines

We use a variety of hands-on techniques like spinal manipulation ( where safe – and always with your consent), massage therapy,  joint articulation and stretching. These help relieve symptoms caused by stress, injury or postural compensations. We always empower our patients with self management strategies, to prevent recurrence . 

What is dry needling?

Dry Needling is a treatment method in which an extremely thin sterile needle is inserted into a hyper irritable muscle. Traditionally known as a “muscle knot” or “trigger point”. Our Osteopaths use this treatment technique alongside other techniques. The primary aim is to reduce muscle pain and tightness and improve muscle function. 

It’s important to note that “dry” refers to the needle, which does not contain any medication or solution. Nor is it an injection.

Dry needling can be used to treat a variety of pain associated with muscles, tendons, and connective tissue. It’s most commonly used for musculoskeletal conditions like neck or back pain, hip pain, headaches and shoulder pain. It can also be very effective for other conditions like tennis elbow or Plantar Fasciitis.

What are myofascial trigger points?

Myofascial trigger points are hyperirritable spots located within a muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibres. They can be tender to the touch and may refer to pain to other regions of the body. 

Trigger points may form for a variety of reasons. Some may occur if injuries are not addressed, resulting in compensation patterns, and altered muscle firing patterns. Some may occur due to muscular overload or repetitive strain of the muscles. Stress and poor posture may also contribute to the formation of these painful muscles.

Dry Needling and Osteopathy

Is dry needling similar to acupuncture?

Acupuncture and dry needling are 2 very different treatment modalities. 

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years in Asia, whereas dry needling has become more popular in recent years and was developed based on Western medical anatomical and neurophysiological principles. 

While the two treatments share the same needles. It is the practice and theory behind its application that differ. Acupuncture relates to more concepts of  meridians and Qi or energy pathways. While dry needling focuses on local muscular pain and tightness as an indication of where to place the needle. 


How does dry needling work?

The exact mechanism and how Dry needling works are complex and not 100% fully known. What we do know is that by stimulating the trigger point with a needle we can elicit a “twitch response”. This is the muscles response to the needle. This reaction then evokes a bombardment of signals to the brain, as well as having a local effect. The end result being a reduction in pain, improved blood circulation and a reduction in muscle tightness and sensitivity. 


Can Osteopaths do dry needling?09 

Osteopaths provide musculoskeletal treatment using dry needling. Our Osteopaths have all undertaken a 5 year University degree, studying all aspects of the human body including anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, neurology giving them an extensive knowledge of the bodies structure and function. The Osteopath’s at Equilibrium Sports and Spinal clinic have all completed extra training to undertake dry needling as part of their treatment regime.


Does dry needling help with tight muscles?

Dry needling is frequently combined with Osteopathic hands on treatment techniques in our clinic to target tight and painful muscles.

It has been shown to increase muscle blood flow, which is important for healing injured muscles, ligaments, and tendons.


Final thoughts

Dry needling is a safe treatment that may assist with chronically hypertonic muscles as well as acute injuries. It should not however be considered as a stand-alone intervention for common muscle issues. It should be combined with a specific diagnosis, hands on Osteopathic treatment techniques and a well structured self management plan to achieve positive long term results. 

In short, dry needling is only one treatment tool in our arsenal and is frequently combined with hands-on treatment techniques in our clinic to target all areas of muscle tightness and pain

Ensure your sports injury is effectively managed at Equilibrium Sports and Spine Clinic by booking an appointment today!

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Your comprehensive guide that covers everything from the basics of back pain to tips for keeping your spine healthy.