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6 Dry Needling Questions Answered By Our Hamilton Osteopath

Updated: Jan 31


This therapeutic approach involves the use of fine needles inserted into specific muscle trigger points. Dry needling is administered by trained healthcare professionals, including our Hamilton osteopaths, and is designed to address muscle pain, trigger points, and related issues.

In this comprehensive blog post we'll explore the effectiveness and worthiness of dry needling, shedding light on its benefits and considerations. I have written a broader discussion on Acupuncture here and here.

1. What does dry needling actually do?

Dry needling is a therapeutic technique used by trained healthcare professionals, such as osteopaths, to treat muscle pain and trigger points. During the procedure, fine needles are inserted into myofascial trigger points, which are knots in the muscles. Dry needling aims to release these trigger points, improve blood flow, and alleviate muscle tension. It can help reduce pain, improve range of motion, and promote overall muscle function. It is often used to treat conditions like muscle pain, sports injuries, and chronic pain.

2. How painful is dry needling?

The level of pain experienced during dry needling can vary from person to person and can depend on how the practitioner uses the needle. Some individuals may feel minimal discomfort, while others may experience quite strong but very satisfying pain. The discomfort is typically short-lived, although an intense session may linger for up to 3 days. Most often people feel the pain associated with dry needling is worth it. People often feel the pain 'hits the spot' and feels 'like a massage inside the muscle'

3. What is negative about dry needling?

While dry needling can be an effective treatment, there are some considerations to be aware of. It may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions, and it should be performed by a qualified practitioner to avoid complications. Additionally, there can be some post-needling soreness, but this is usually temporary. It is very important to know that in NZ practitioners DO NOT need to be qualified to perform dry needling. Yes, you read that right. Anybody can purchase the needles and have a go. For the sake of your safety and the effectiveness of treatment, it is worth checking that your provider is qualified, regardless of weather they are already a physio, osteo, chiro etc. Our Hamilton Osteopaths have post graduate training from AUT which ensures you receive the best care possible.

4. What should you not do after dry needling?

After dry needling, it's advisable to avoid strenuous physical activity for the rest of the day to allow the treated muscles to recover. Staying hydrated and keep moving as recommended by your practitioner.

5. Is dry needling better than massage?

Dry needling and massage serve different purposes. Dry needling targets specific muscle trigger points, while massage provides a broader approach to muscle relaxation and tension relief. The choice between them depends on your specific condition and needs. Often, they can be complementary treatments used in conjunction for the best results.

6. Is dry needling from our Hamilton Osteopath worth it?

The effectiveness of dry needling varies from person to person. Many individuals find it beneficial for pain relief and improved muscle function. Its worthiness depends on your specific condition and how well it works for you. Our Hamilton Osteopaths have a range of techniques and dry needling is just one of them. We like using it, and it is worth trying, but some people may not like it or find it useful, so for these people we try something else entirely.


Dry needling is a technique targeting muscle pain and trigger points. Fine needles are inserted to release tension and reduce discomfort. Pain levels vary, but most find it bearable and effective. Considerations include suitability for certain medical conditions and the importance of a qualified practitioner. Post-procedure, avoid strenuous activity and stay hydrated. Dry needling and massage serve distinct purposes, often complementing each other. Its effectiveness varies, and alternative treatments are available.

Osteopath Hamilton, Hamilton Osteopath, Dry Needling Hamilton

Written by Darryl Jenkins

Darryl Jenkins is a friendly Hamilton osteopath and co-owner of TLC Osteopaths. His formal qualifications include a undergraduate certificate in Exercise science from Wintec, a degree in Human Biology from Unitec, and a master's degree in osteopathy from Unitec, where he also completed his thesis on human movement assessment. He also holds a postgraduate certificate in acupuncture from AUT which means he practices osteopathy and acupuncture. He would like to be pursuing the postgraduate certificate in Pain Science at Otago Uni (Awaiting spouse approval for 2024).

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