Acupuncture & Dry Needling

JL PhysioFit

What is it?

There are two types of Acupuncture: Traditional Acupuncture and Dry Needling
Traditional Acupuncture treatment has been around for thousands of years and has a strong evidence base supporting its use in the treatment of many conditions including:

Neck pain

Low back pain

Tension type headaches


Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid arthritis joint pain

Shoulder pain

Nerve pain

It involves the insertion of very fine needles into the body at particular ‘meridian’ points to help restore energy imbalances. Whether you prescribe to this theory or not, it can be very helpful for the relief of pain, ailments and improved wellbeing.
Western medicine would propose that these meridians or ‘acupuncture points’ work a different way and are closely linked to similar patterns of our nerve distributions. By inserting a fine needle in points away from where pain is actually felt we may actually influence the painful area.
Dry Needling is a type of acupuncture that aims to target a specific point within the muscle that is tight or irritable, which promotes muscle relaxation, healing and pain relief. Although dry needling techniques can initially be painful and cause discomfort before the benefits are felt, they are very effective.

How does acupuncture work and what are the benefits?

Traditional acupuncture uses a number of fine needles (5-20 depending on condition treated) that are inserted into multiple acupuncture or meridian points. They act to stimulate receptors in the body, which trigger a chain of events resulting in the release of your body’s own natural pain-relieving chemicals or endorphins such as:

Melatonin - to help with better sleep.

Serotonin - to promote wellbeing.

Endorphins - to help with pain relief and mood.

This helps to change how your body processes pain and stress, as well as aiding in the reduction of inflammation.
Dry needling typically involves the use of one fine needle that is used to stimulate the tight spot within the muscle. This spot may be needled for 30-60 seconds and then the needle removed and discarded.

How many treatments are needed?

Typically, traditional acupuncture treatments take between 15-30 minutes over an average number of 4 – 6 sessions within a fairly short space of time, and can be delivered as stand-alone treatments. Results are not always immediate and often build over time, so this allows us to see how effective acupuncture is for the person.
With dry needling your physio would often pick a number of points to needle within the desired muscle or muscles, meaning that treatment times are often shorter, and often used in conjunction with other treatment methods. We would still recommend a course of dry needling similar to that of traditional acupuncture but you may experience quicker results.
As always, before treatment starts you will be thoroughly assessed to work out the best treatment plan for you. This will highly likely involve other manual treatment techniques as well as a targeted exercise programme to get you the best results.

Will it hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very fine, and as such traditional acupuncture is generally not a painful treatment. Your physiotherapist uses a guide tube and tap technique that allows needles to get past the initial layer of skin with minimal to no discomfort.

Of course, some points may be felt more than others but overall Acupuncture is tolerated very well and clients often report a feeling of relaxation during and post treatment.

Dry needling, as mentioned before, can cause more discomfort as we are using the needle to stimulate the muscle as opposed to leaving it in for a lengthened period of time.

Your physio will talk you through the proposed technique along with the benefits and potential side effects before any treatment is carried out.

What are the side effects?

Again, often very rarely experienced but important to know that Acupuncture can cause: pain/discomfort when the needle is inserted, dizziness or feeling faint, nausea, bleeding or bruising where the needle goes in.

How do I Book?

If you are ready to book in then you can either phone the main desk on 0191 814 9717, or use our easy online booking system by clicking here and selecting the ‘Physiotherapy Assessment/First Appointment’ option.

There is no specific acupuncture appointment as all acupuncture treatment is carried out within a ‘Physiotherapy Treatment’ session, but the first step is always an assessment. You will usually be offered an appointment within 24/48 hours and depending on your history, receive some treatment in the first session.