Does Dry Needling Hurt?

Does Dry Needling Hurt?

Imagine feeling like a thousand tiny pinpricks are attacking your muscles all at once—that’s what some people fear about dry needling. Hint: it’s nothing like this and you have nothing to be concerned about.

You might be wondering if the treatment genuinely hurts and what sensations you can expect during the process. While individual pain tolerance varies, the discomfort is very mild and short-lived, often described as a low level dull ache or a muscle twitch. 

Understanding why these sensations occur and how they contribute to your overall well-being is key. So, if you want to know what makes dry needling worth the fleeting and very mild discomfort, please read on, this blog was written with you in mind.

Understanding Dry Needling

Understanding dry needling entails recognising how extremely thin needles are used to target muscle trigger points and relieve pain. By inserting these very fine filiform needles directly into specific areas of muscle tension and adhesions, you can help patients alleviate discomfort and improve their muscle function.The primary goal is to disrupt tight or knotted muscle fibres, which in turn can reduce pain and enhance mobility.

It’s important to understand the efficacy of dry needling. Patients often report immediate relief of pain and muscle spasms following treatment. This immediate feedback suggests that the technique effectively targets and deactivates problematic trigger points.

Both a dry needle or acupuncture needle are about 10% of the size of a medical needle - extremely thin and painless on insertion.

Moreover, the long-term benefits of dry needling include sustained pain relief and improved muscle function, which are achieved over multiple sessions.

Evidence shows that, despite potential very mild discomfort during treatment, the benefits are significant. The brief and small dull ache experienced during needle insertion and the twitch response are both minimal and transient. We always reassure our patients about the temporary nature of any soreness help them feel more at ease and committed to their treatment plan. Once you do it the first, you will see there is nothing to be concerned about, and you will love the results.

Sensations During Treatment

During dry needling treatment, patients often describe sensations ranging from a very mild, dull ache to a brief muscle twitch response. When the needle is inserted into muscle trigger points, you might feel a slight discomfort or a pressure sensation. 

This is completely different from the sharp pain associated with injections if that is one of your concerns.

As the needle activates the targeted muscle, you may experience a temporary recreation of pain followed by a muscle twitch response. 

This twitch is a normal part of the process and indicates that the muscle is releasing tension.

Your Dry Needling Physio will use extremely thin needles to target your muscle trigger points to release tension and relieve pain.

The discomfort during the twitch response is minimal and lasts only a few seconds. It’s not uncommon to feel some very mild muscle ache after the treatment, similar to what you might feel after a good workout. This soreness generally resolves within a short period of time. Some patients might experience mild bruising, but overall, the level of discomfort during dry needling is manageable for most individuals.

Understanding these sensations can help you feel more at ease during your treatment, knowing that the temporary discomfort often leads to significant benefits in pain relief and improved muscle function. Your practitioner is there to guide you and ensure your comfort throughout the process.

Factors Affecting Discomfort

Several factors can influence the level of discomfort you feel during dry needling sessions. Your individual pain tolerance plays a major role, as some people are naturally more sensitive to pain than others. Additionally, the sensitivity of the muscle being targeted can affect how you feel during the procedure. Areas with high sensitivity may lead to more noticeable discomfort.

There are other elements that can impact your experience.

Understanding these factors can help set realistic expectations for your dry needling sessions. By discussing any concerns with your practitioner ahead of time, you can work together to tailor the treatment approach, minimising discomfort while optimising therapeutic benefits.

Post-Treatment Soreness

Very mild post-treatment soreness is a common occurrence after dry needling, typically presenting as mild discomfort that fades within a day or two. This soreness may manifest as a small dull ache or muscle tenderness around the needle insertion sites. This is a normal response and indicates that your body is beginning its healing process.

To alleviate any discomfort, you can engage in gentle movements or light stretching, which helps increase blood flow and reduce stiffness. Applying a warm compress to the sore areas can also offer relief. Occasionally, you might notice very light bruising, but this should resolve on its own without causing significant distress.

Understanding that post-treatment soreness is a sign of your body’s natural healing can make the experience more manageable. The discomfort you feel often corresponds to the activation of muscle trigger points, which can lead to improved muscle function and pain relief over time.

While the soreness is brief, it’s essential to communicate with your practitioner about your experience to tailor future treatments to your comfort level. Your well-being is the priority, and managing post-treatment soreness effectively is part of ensuring a positive outcome from dry needling.

Benefit vs. Discomfort

Recognising the temporary nature of post-treatment soreness, it’s important to weigh the benefits of dry needling against the discomfort experienced during and after the procedure. While you might feel a slight discomfort or mild pressure when the needles are inserted, the potential advantages often justify this brief unease.

The benefits of dry needling can be substantial, especially for those suffering from chronic pain or muscle tension. Here are some key benefits to ponder:

It’s essential to remember that while you might experience mild to moderate soreness post-treatment, this discomfort is typically short-lived. 

The goal of dry needling is long-term relief and improved function. By enduring a brief period of discomfort, you could achieve significant and lasting benefits, making it a worthwhile consideration for many patients.

Summing It Up...

While dry needling might cause brief discomfort, it’s generally manageable and short-lived. Did you know that over 70% of patients report significant pain relief after just one session?

Post-treatment soreness, similar to mild workout soreness, is common and indicates the activation of trigger points for better muscle function. Ultimately, the benefits—like enhanced muscle performance and long-term pain relief—far outweigh any temporary discomfort, making dry needling a valuable treatment option for many.

People looking for dry needling therapy should discuss the suitability with our experienced dry needling physios. 

Please give call us today on (03) 6161 1737 or book in online to see if dry needling therapy is right for you.

Rosanna Physio

Rosanna Physio

Rosanna Physio has been serving the people of Rosanna and its surrounding suburbs since 1989. We have the experienced and education to effectively treat any muscle or joint injury that requires expert physical therapy care.

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