Dry Needling

Dry needling session on the patient's back

Myofascial Dry Needling (MDN) treats sore muscles and trigger points.

How does Dry Needling work?

As discussed in another blog post, muscles are made of many individual fibres.

As the fibre contract and stretches, this does give the muscle the ability to have strength and elasticity.

Along with repetitive movements and lack of posture, the muscle fibres can accumulate tension that we generally call knots.

Those “knots” are also known as trigger points.

This is one of the many theories behind the formation of trigger points.

Said so, a trigger point is a terminology used to describe a painful spot. And still, nowadays, there is no exact explanation for how trigger point forms and what exactly they are.

But what we know for sure is that not everyone develops trigger points in the same spot.

Now, to release the tension out of the trigger points, we can either apply external pressure, with the thumb or the elbow, in case of a Remedial Massage or even the knee or the heel of the foot with a Thai Massage, or we can break the fibres from within by using a needle.

What a needle is like?

The needles used in this practice have a diameter from 0.15 to 0.25mm, so really thin needles.

Dry Needling session on the shoulderWhereas the length can vary from 15mm to 90mm.

Depending on the target muscle, the length of the needle is different.

So, as we penetrate the muscle with the needle, we brake the fibre, and we recall an inflammatory response from the patient’s immune system.

Which drives more blood and nutrients to the target area.

As discussed further in this study published on PubMed, Dry Needling is effective for chronic non-specific neck pain 1.

Is dry needling safe?

Yes, it is, as long as the practitioner offering the service is qualified for it, and well knows the anatomy of the muscles.

Said so, when you receive dry needling, there are a few things that you may want to consider.

Firstly you better not have any metal allergy.

Also, Dry Needling is not recommended if you have just done any strong physical activity or training, as the muscles would be in an acute inflammatory stage.

In addition to this, other contraindications are:

  • If the patient is on a blood thinner
  • Diabetes type 1
  • The area is affected by Lymphedema
  • The patient is unable to give the consent
  • The patient would not be able to stay still as the needle is in the body

Book now, your next Myotherapy session at Melbourne Massage and Treatment, Fitzroy North Clinic.

How long the needle stays in the body?

Dry Needling on the calf

Depending on the area needing treatment, the needle may stay in the body for 3 to 10 minutes.

And always based on the target muscle that needs to be treated would also depend on the type of treatment.

Indeed, the needle could be placed in the muscle and left there to sit and create the physiological response needed, or it could even be partially extracted, moved around and placed back.

This type of technique is called “peppering”.

Peppering along a dry needling session allows the therapist to target other fibres around the muscle fibre area.



1. Cerezo-Téllez E, Torres-Lacomba M, Fuentes-Gallardo I, Perez-Muñoz M, Mayoral-Del-Moral O, Lluch-Girbés E, Prieto-Valiente L, Falla D. Effectiveness of dry needling for chronic nonspecific neck pain: a randomized, single-blinded, clinical trial. Pain. 2016 Sep;157(9):1905-1917. DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000591. PMID: 27537209.


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