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Dry needling uses very thin needles that are typically not painful. Because the needles do not contain medication, we are able to use very thin needles that are 8x smaller than those used for your vaccines with your medical doctor. While some areas may be more tender than others, dry needling typically does not cause more pain than your current symptoms.
Drowsiness, tiredness, or dizziness occurs after treatment in a small number of patients (1-3%). If this affects you, you are advised not to drive until you feel you are at your baseline.
Dry needling from a clinical perspective has proven to be an extremely useful tool, most notably in patients who have long-term or chronic muscle tightness that does not resolve with independent stretching or strengthening programs. Dry needling research supports its effectiveness in regards to relieving pain, muscle spasms, and muscle tightness by decreasing trigger points in the muscle.
The purpose of acupuncture is to alter the flow of energy (“Qi”) along traditional Chinese meridians for the treatment of pain and dysfunction. Dry needling has an anatomy-specific focus as needles will be inserted directly into the tight muscle rather than up and down the path of its energy.
Length of relief will vary from person to person. With initial treatments, results typically last several days. With each additional treatment, the goal is that we are able to increase the window of relief with each session meaning longer relief with each additional attempt.
Although you may have some soreness after a dry needling session, you will often notice some improvement in your symptoms within 24-48 hours. Again, the intensity of this improvement will ideally increase with each additional session. As you adjust to the treatment, post-treatment soreness will tend to decrease and your results will often be more noticeable directly after your session.
In acute pain situations, only one session may be needed. For more chronic pain situations, it may take several treatments to notice a change. Because dry needling can have a cumulative effect if you do not notice results after the first session we typically recommend 2-3 treatments before deciding to pursue other options. We tend to start your dry needling plan at 1x/week, with the goal of increasing the length between sessions as we go along. Your physiotherapist will discuss your individualized plan of care in regards to your dry needling plan at your first session.