Dry Needling Therapy

Dr Stefanie McMahon BSc BVMS GDipEd(Tertiary)

What is it?

  • Dry needling therapy involves targeting trigger points in the muscle with a very fine filiform needle.
  • The stimulation from the needle causes a local twitch response (which can be seen as a small contraction of the muscle), that then allows the muscle to relax out of its chronic state of tension.
  • The myofascial release from this twitch response eases muscle and joint pain that has been affected by this area of tension.

What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?

  • Dry needling uses Western (modern) medicine to locate areas within muscles and fascia that are under tension. Direct stimulation of this area causes release of this tension.
  • Acupuncture is based on Eastern (Chinese) medicine, that targets acupuncture points along meridian lines to correct imbalances in flow of qi throughout the body.

Will it suit my animal?

  • Dry needling therapy can be done on any species, of any age. It can be used for both acute and chronic conditions.
  • Any temperament can be treated, some animals that are particularly nervous or excited about being in the vet clinic may be advised to have a calmative prior so that they can get the most relaxation and benefit out of the session.

What happens during the consult?

  • The initial consult will take about 40minutes and will involve a thorough assessment of your pet’s history, behaviours (relating to muscle/arthritic pain) and medications.
  • A physical exam will then be performed focusing on the musculoskeletal system. This is when trigger points will be identified.
  • The trigger points will then be targeted. Typically 3-5 points will be treated per session. This allows the body to focus on those points, and not overwhelm the body. Depending on the patient, the needles will be left in for 1-15minutes.
  • Your pet can go for their normal morning walk before hand, have all medications as previously prescribed, and eat/drink as usual prior to the consult.

What to expect afterwards?

  • It is common for pet’s to be quiet after a session. Just like after a massage, they will likely want to relax and sleep. Give them somewhere warm and comfortable to rest. If you find they are particularly sleepy, please let us know. This may mean we target less points per session in future.
  • The younger animals tend to be less quiet after the sessions compared to the more senior patients.

Are there any complications?

  • If dry needling therapy is required over the chest there is a very small risk of a pneumothorax developing. Needling technique is changed over the chest to minimise this risk, and you will be advised if this is something you need to watch out for in your pet.

When should I see results?

  • Some owners will notice an improvement within 24hours after the first session, others take a few sessions to respond. A positive response is often seen as less ‘stiff’, more active and resumption of previous behaviours (eg running around, playing).

How often is treatment required?

  • This will vary depending on the age of the patient and the condition being treated. Initially weekly to fortnightly appointments are usually required, with treatments stretching out to monthly to every few months in the future.
  • Subsequent treatments will be shorter appointments as the problem areas are targeted and your pet becomes accustomed to the process.

Is it value for money?

  • Absolutely, book and appointment with Dr Stefanie and your pet will tell you how much it helps.
    First consultation is $150, ongoing visits are $75.

Appointments can be made through reception on 9257 1600 or make a booking online.
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