Short answer to whether dry needling is painful: It doesn't have to be!
Is Dry Needling Painful? Dry Needling is a very broad term. It encompasses a large spectrum of treatment techniques, philosophies, and educational streams. Some educational streams advocate very aggressive and painful treatments. Others can be almost completely painless. At Elevate Physiotherapy we specialize in Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (Gunn IMS) so this will be the specific technique we are referring to below. What is Gunn IMS?
Is Gunn IMS painful? Because Gunn IMS focuses on addressing a nervous system that is supersensitized, therapists are cautioned that it is possible to overstimulate their clients. This is not the goal of treatment. Because of the profound physiological effects that occur with the insertion of a needle, treatment with dry needles is no different than a dosage of prescription medication. Our therapists will perform a thorough assessment and will be very careful that the appropriate 'dosage' of treatment is provided. Although clients will often describe the experience as a somewhat unpleasant sensation, the level of discomfort felt during treatment can be easily adapted based on tolerance and comfort levels. Pain is not required for an effective treatment! If you have experienced painful dry needling in the past, especially if the pain persisted for days, your therapist may have been overly aggressive for your own personal needs (they have essentially applied a treatment overdose).