Integrated Dry Needling: Our top FAQs answered

Acupuncture-knee-300x199If you have been a patient at Inspired Physio its highly likely at some point you have received dry needling as part of your treatment plan. Often we get asked about the benefits, reasons for, as well as the type of needling offered and so below I have answered some of those ‘FAQs’.

1.       What type of needling do you do and how does that differ to other types? There are a few different types of needling offered within the physiotherapy scope of practice. Here at Inspired Physio we are all trained in ‘Integrated Dry Needling’ which is a method devised and taught by Andrew Hutton. Put simply, this method of dry needling is a freestyle system of needling, whereby there are no pre-determined points where the needles must go and we don’t need to find trigger points. We use both movement based assessment as well as our palpation skills to find mechanical issues in joints or tissue and then aim to utilise the needling as a tool for treatment.

2.       Is it like acupuncture? Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese Medicine. Andrew Hutton, who studied traditional acupuncture originally, found it hard to transition the Chinese medicine theories he had learnt and apply them to his treatment sessions as a physio. There had to be a bridge between the two to allow his treatments to become objective and measurable. So, overtime, he developed his own unique method and began teaching around Australia and internationally.

3.       How does it work? The theory behind integrated dry needling is that the needles aim to alter the body’s immune response, tissue chemistry and inflammatory profile. Assessment techniques include movement observation, joint range of motion testing, neurodynamic testing and palpation of tissue. Then, from the results of the assessment we are able to work out which parts of the body need to be needled (Hint – it may not always be where the pain is!).

4.       Will it hurt? Integrated dry needling is relatively pain free. This type of needling does not require many needles to go deep nor do we need to find trigger points. People in the past who may have had trigger point dry needling often say how sore they felt during and after. Integrated dry needling almost always avoids these issues. If needles are inserted deeper into the connective tissue they feel more like a deep pressure sensation. The majority of needles done however stop before the connective tissue and thus can be hardly felt.

5.       How quick do you see results? Do they last? After treatment, we can retest the objective measures which showed abnormalities initially and see for any positive change. If successfully unloaded, changes at the site of inflammation and pain sensitivity will occur. These can be immediate however may be latent in some people. Through experience we do find people may need multiple sessions for these changes to ‘stick’. Needling however is usually only one component of treatment and for best results, its best to combine a few modalities to get the quickest response to treatment.

 Sara, Physiotherapist