Myofascial dry needling is a technique used widely by manual therapists including myotherapists, physiotherapists & osteopaths. It is an increasingly popular technique used for treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain. 

What is MDN?

Myofascial dry needling is a manual technique in which the practitioner uses a sterile, single-use filament needle to stimulate reactions in a target tissue for a therapeutic effect. The needle is inserted into skeletal muscle with the aim to decrease the sensitivity of myofascial ‘trigger points’, which are hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle. While the exact scientific mechanism of ‘trigger points’ is still debated, they are a very common phenomenon, typically causing local and referred pain in the body.  

What are the benefits of MDN?

MDN can help to reduce local and referred pain from hyper-sensitive muscles, reduce muscle spasms, improve range of motion and help stimulate the regeneration of muscle cells. 

Effect of MDN on the central nervous system:

The most likely mechanism of pain relief by dry-needling is related to its effect on neural pathways and the central nervous system. The gate control theory is a popular concept explaining the change to sensory nerve impulses due to the inhibition of pain signals in the central nervous system. The stimulus of the needle can provide strong neural impulses to pain receptors in the spinal cord, which may break the vicious cycle of pain receptors occurring at the peripheral ‘trigger point’ site of pain. Effective inactivation of ‘trigger point’ receptors can help offer short-term relief from myofascial trigger point pain which encourages pain-free ROM and movement for longer-term pain relief and rehabilitation. 

Is it the same as acupuncture?

While there are physical similarities between these two types of treatment, such as the use of fine needles into the skin, the philosophy behind the application is different. MDN is based on Western medical principles, whereas acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

Is it safe?

When performed by a practitioner trained in myofascial dry needling, it is a safe practice. Temporary soreness may occur at the needle insertion site, however, our practitioners do their best to avoid this and always obtain your consent and feedback before performing any manual techniques such as dry-needling.  

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