Physiotherapists at The Injury Clinic Physiotherapy are all qualified and experienced in the use of dry needling as a treatment technique. Dry needling may be suggested, or offered, as a treatment option in the management of your injury. 

Physiotherapists will discuss the reasons behind suggesting dry needling as a treatment option, as well as the expected outcomes. 


Dry needling involves using a fine filament needle (the same as those used in acupuncture) to elicit a local twitch response from a muscle. It is most commonly used to address the health and function of muscle tissue. 

 A dry needle is used to target myofascial trigger points, or ‘knots’ in our muscle, and induce a local twitch response. Eliciting a local twitch response has been shown to improve the length, strength and fatiguability of a muscle. Dry needling to induce a local twitch response within a muscle, can therefore help in improving muscle and joint function.

Myofascial trigger points are extremely common, and their presence can result in disturbances in motor function such as muscle spasm, weakness, loss of coordination and decreased work tolerance. They will often occur as the result of muscle overload.


There are many reasons why physiotherapists at The Injury Clinic may include dry needling as part of a management plan. These reasons include, but are not limited to:

– Addressing muscle dysfunction. Many of our muscles lay deep to those we can feel superficially (e.g. some of the gluteal muscles are more 5cm below the surface of the skin). Dry needling is much more effective than other forms of treatment (i.e. soft tissue / deep tissue massage) to address dysfunction in these muscles. 

– To treat a persistent problem or injury. Dry needling is often used as a treatment progression from other forms of tissue release. It can be  extremely effective in the treatment of injuries that haven’t responded to other forms of treatment.

– To assist with injury diagnosis. Some injuries are more complex than others. We often need to gauge the initial response to treatment to assist in accurate diagnosis and development of a management plan. With dry needling being incredibly effective in the treatment of muscle dysfunction, it may be used to assist in determining tissue sources involved in an injury presentation.

**If a Physiotherapist at The Injury Clinic has suggested dry needling, it is usually for one (or a combination) of these reasons. Ultimately, we feel dry needling be a more effective form of treatment for you.  We are specific with who we suggest dry needling to, it is certainly not a form of treatment that is suited for everyone or every injury. 


Aside from a change to your symptoms, the following are normal responses after a treatment session involving dry needling;

– Muscle soreness: Quite common post treatment is for the muscle needled to feel tender, bruised, tight or heavy. Some people find they have no tenderness, others find it lasts up to two days after treatment. 

– Fatigue or drowsiness: Some people feel drowsy after treatment. Again, this varies person to person and is also influenced by the volume of needling, the size of the muscle and the type of injury. This should settle quickly and most people report a great night sleep after needling!

– Bruising: Small bruises post treatment are common and usually settle quickly.


While dry needling is often compared with acupuncture, the main similarity between the two techniques are the types of needles – which happen to be the same. Aside from that, the philosophy, methods and application are quite different.

Traditional acupuncturists understand health in terms of “Qi”, a force or energy that travels along pre-determined meridian lines. “Qi” energy must flow with adequate strength and quality to maintain health and acupuncture is a technique used to alter and improve the flow of “Qi”. This philosophy is quite different to dry needling myofascial trigger points.