Pelvic girdle pain physio

How to Relieve Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy

Throughout pregnancy, many women will experience some form of Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Knowing how to relieve pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy is vital to ensure women still have a good pregnancy experience and one that allows them to continue their normal daily activities for as long as possible.

PGP during pregnancy is a relatively common condition affecting approximately half of all pregnant women. For 25-30% of pregnant women, the condition can become quite severe. This blog will introduce the topic of pelvic girdle pain and allow you to develop a better understanding of what causes it, what the symptoms are and how you can work with a Barefoot Physiotherapist to relieve your pelvic girdle pain and comfortably adapt to your body’s changes.

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain?

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is classified as pain felt either at the front of the pelvis over the pubic joint, pain at the back of the pelvis near the sacroiliac joint or pain on one or both sides of the pelvis. PGP which relates to the pubic symphysis joint can also refer pain into the inner thigh (adductors), groin, vaginal or lower abdominal region. Approximately 90% of woman recover from PGP within 12 months of having a baby, however, up to 10% of women have continued PGP pain up to 2 years post birth.

What Causes Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy?

To determine how to relieve PGP in Pregnancy, your Physiotherapist will need to assess your pelvis and the related muscles in the region. PGP can have multiple causes stemming from both ligaments and muscles. During pregnancy your body undergoes multiple changes including:

  • The increasing weight of the baby on your pelvic floor muscles
  • Your centre of gravity pushing forward as your baby and stomach grows which challenged your balance and adds increased load to your back.
  • Hormonal changes: Relaxin is one of the hormones responsible for an increase in ligament laxity, as it alters the collagen structure of your connective tissues (which composes ligaments). Ligaments help to control your joint movement and support your pelvic floor muscles.
  • The pelvic joints usually have very small amounts of movement when you are not pregnant. However, as this increases during pregnancy your pelvis requires your muscles to help control and stabilise the pelvis. Therefore, if your muscles aren’t doing their job correctly this can increase the strain on the ligaments/ joint which can result in inflammation and pain. 
  • Finally, as your abdominal muscles stretch throughout pregnancy and the weight of the baby bears down on the pelvic floor, it is more difficult for muscles to tighten and support the pelvis. This can also contribute to poor control of the joints and therefore increased pain.

Practical Tips: How to Help Pelvic Girdle Pain

There are numerous techniques utilised for relief for pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy. Like any inflammation of a joint, ice can be relieving. Ice can be applied over the painful joints around the pelvis for approximately 20 minutes at a time. It is recommended you then rest for at least 40 minutes before reapplying ice as needed. Ice can help settle your pain and relieve the inflammation at the joint.

Your Physiotherapist will advise you how to relieve pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy.

Initially this may include resting your joints by changing positions regularly (between sitting and standing), positioning yourself comfortably with lower back support and avoiding long periods of time standing (i.e. long walks).

Knowing how to relieve pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy is vital to ensuring you can maintain as much of your normal day to day activities throughout the 9 months. Your Physiotherapist may also recommend a support belt or Tubi grip to relieve pressure on your pelvic region. Once the initial rest period is complete, your Physiotherapist will introduce exercises to help increase your strength to counteract the pressure of your growing baby on your pelvis.

How To Relieve Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy with Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor muscles act to support the weight of your growing baby. As your baby increases in weight, the load on these muscles increases and it can cause a slight stretch to the muscles. Correct pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscle activation, strength and length are vital to a happily functioning pelvic girdle. For example, if pelvic floor muscles become weak that can cause other muscles such as the adductors to pick up the slack and tighten, which in turn pulls on the pubic symphysis joint. In addition, dysfunction of lower abdominals, glutes and hamstrings can all negatively impact the pelvic girdle. Therefore, it is essential for your Physiotherapist to thoroughly assess your individual symptoms and determine what muscles need to be treated either through manual therapy or exercise.

Your Physiotherapy exercises may include, but is not limited to the following:

  1. Increase correct breathing patterns
  2. Lower abdominal strengthening
  3. Glute and Hamstring strengthening 
  4. Pelvic floor strengthening
  5. Gentle adductor strengthening
  6. Muscle releases
  7. In addition, the use of a support belt for your pelvic girdle pain might also help.

Relief For Pelvic Girdle Pain with Physiotherapy

It is recommended to work with a trusted health care professional, such as a Physiotherapist to help determine how to relieve pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. Booking an appointment with a Barefoot Physiotherapist will allow us to thoroughly assess your situation, determine where your discomfort is coming from and then work together to determine your best treatment plan for both in the clinic and at home. Your Physiotherapist will show you how to help pelvic girdle pain by creating a multimodal treatment plan. You can expect your treatment to include: hands on techniques to relieve pain, advice around how to move without aggravating your symptoms and exercises to help keep you moving well.  

Whilst majority of women report a decrease in pelvic girdle pain symptoms after giving birth, it is still important for women to return to their full strength and mobility without pain as soon as it is safe to do so. Physiotherapy can help women adjust to motherhood and implement strategies and exercises to help their bodies adapt to the new load of raising a child.

Book In with Barefoot to for PGP Management Today

If this sounds like the type of Physiotherapy you are searching for, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you or someone else you know needs relief for Pelvic Girdle Pain in pregnancy or is experiencing other pain or discomfort associated with pregnancy, we can help assess and determine your best course of treatment. Barefoot Physiotherapy provide leading pregnancy physiotherapy, pelvic floor physio and women’s physiotherapy services in Brisbane. Book in with Barefoot Physiotherapy today by calling us on 1300 842 850 or using the book online link on our website.

Physiotherapy car setup

Back Problems from Driving? Try These 3 Tips

Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people see a physiotherapist. An important activity that back pain often interferes with is driving. People may have ongoing back pain that flares up when they drive, or sometimes the only time they have back pain is while they are driving or immediately after. Physiotherapy can help acute back pain, and long-term, chronic back pain and help you manage any back problems from driving.

Why Do People Have Back Problems From Driving?

There are many factors that are involved in back problems while driving. People commonly feel back discomfort in a variety of places. It may be more in the hips and low back, or in the upper and mid back, or even a combination. The best way to understand how to avoid lower back pain while driving requires taking a look at why it’s happening in the first place.

If you are consistently upright and tightly gripping the steering wheel you may feel it more in the upper and mid back or front of hips. If you are sitting in the one, maybe slumped, position for an extended period of time you may feel it more in the lower back. Driving in constant stop-start traffic can result in fatiguing hip and back muscles resulting in back discomfort.

People may experience ongoing or chronic back pain with driving, particularly if their job requires long hours behind the wheel. When sitting in a moving vehicle the body experiences forces and challenges that it wouldn’t in a stationary chair. You have to compensate for changes in speed and direction, the constant vibrations from the vehicle, and changes to your base of support as you use your feet on the pedals or shift to check your blind spot.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back problems from driving can occur from poor posture, sustained postures, restricted movement ranges, and decreased variety of movements. Your spine and back are comprised of your vertebrae, the discs and ligaments between and around vertebrae and muscles at the back, side and front of your spine. There can be structural changes to these tissues from age or from trauma that can change the capacity to tolerate load. Muscles can tighten up from habitual poor posture or repetitive small muscle strains. When the body continues to tighten up to protect itself from a perceived threat, we begin to lose options for our movements, often associated with an increase in symptoms.

How To Avoid Lower Back Pain While Driving

There are several ways to know how you can avoid lower back pain while driving. The correct driving position to prevent back pain is the one your body can tolerate without stress. Your body will send you signals it is unhappy via tight muscles in the shoulders, hips and low back. Especially when taking long drives you want to be as comfortable as possible. Take the time before you set off on your drive to get in the right position for your body.

3 key tips to avoid lower back pain while driving:

  • Adjusting Seat and headrest: we often find that people’s car seats aren’t set up ideally. Most cars will have multiple places that you change the seat position. Make sure that you are able to rest the back of your head on the headrest without it pushing your head forward. Try tipping the backrest to a different angle, even a slight change can make all the difference. The seat can slide forward and back to find a spot where the knees aren’t up against the dashboard but you don’t have to sit stretching the arms forward to reach the steering wheel. You may also be able to change the height of the steering column.
  • Using Lumbar Support: if the inbuilt options to change the seat set up are enough, or aren’t quite right you can use external additions. A lumbar support might be appropriate for you. You can also fold towels and use them under the hips, behind the low back or behind the shoulders.
  • Taking Regular Breaks: even after all of the changes you’ve made to your car seat, it’s still not going to feel completely great after hours and hours of driving. It’s recommended that you get out of your car and move the body every 2 hours to prevent mental fatigue. This also helps physical fatigue and is important in reducing back discomfort while driving. If you know your suffer from back discomfort with long drives take breaks more frequently.

How Do I Reduce Back Pain After Driving Long Distances?

To minimise back pain after driving long distance you can try a few stretches or movements in your breaks or once you get to your destination. Depending on how much space you can try some gentle standing movements. Lean forward with bent knees like you’re trying to touch your toes. You can gently rock from side to side here like a “ragdoll”.

You can also lean back with hands on your hips, or side to side. Lunges or squats can help move the hips and activate the glutes after being stationary. From a seated position you can take a twist to both sides, lean forward between the legs, or arch and curve the back with your hands on your knees. The point is to give your body the opportunity to move again after being relatively still and to reduce back problems from driving.

What Are the Best Exercises For Lower Back Pain?

Depending on the underlying cause of your lower back pain there are a variety of exercises that you can do to ease your back problems from driving. These can include mobility, strengthening, motor control and general exercise.

Mobility exercises can help to increase the overall range of movement that your body is comfortably able to access. These can include cat/cow where you arch the back in both directions from a kneeling or a seated position or bow and arrow which is a twisting movement of the thoracic spine from a side lying position. You can also use a trigger ball to release muscles or include a gentle stretching movement.

Strengthening can help increase the body’s tolerance and endurance to sustained postures. Key areas to strengthen for back pain is abdominal muscles, glutes and hip flexors, and back extensor muscles. Strengthening exercises can include pilates exercises such as single leg lifts, teasers, or planks through to weighted squats or deadlifts. It is important to work with a health professional to determine the appropriate level of loading or complexity for your body.

Motor control exercises are important in helping to change the patterns of the body. These can include pelvic tilts, where you tip the pelvic “bowl” forward and back, or hip shifts, where the hips move side to side. These help to highlight subtle position changes in the lower back joints and muscles and can provide more options when sitting for longer periods of time.

General exercise helps to reduce inflammatory levels in the body, improve overall strength and endurance and improve mood. All important elements in reducing back pain and discomfort.

Book In with Barefoot to Manage Lower Back Pain Today

It is common to experience back pain from driving. These are all general tips and suggestions to try to minimise your discomfort. If you are wanting more specific tips or want to know how to prepare your body for driving contact us at Barefoot Physiotherapy by calling 1300 842 850 or booking online.

Barefoot Physiotherapy Brisbane example of a Glute self release clients can do at home.

Self Management Physiotherapy

The goal of any Physiotherapy is ultimately empowerment and understanding, we want to provide you with the tools to be able to look after your body and to do it well. A one-size-fits-all blanket approach to self-care is not effective and in a lot of cases can do more harm than good. The human body is complex and every single one of us is different which mean our needs differ too. What one body likes, may exacerbate symptoms in someone else, so we aim to guide you to better understand your body and what it wants so that you can give yourself the best care.

Different how?

We all have different anatomy, postures, jobs, daily activities and hobbies which all goes into influencing our bodies and how they feel. At Barefoot we appreciate these differences and are committed to finding the root cause of your issues. We target these primary areas with our treatment and provide the tools so you can do self management physiotherapy at home too, because to get the best results you need to be able to take care of yourself.

Examples of Self Management Physiotherapy:

‘Person A’ presents with right shoulder pain and lower back pain and after testing with them we find that treatment to their glutes and right pec muscle is most effective so they get these releases for homework. ‘Person B’ also presents with right sided shoulder pain and lower back pain but treatment to their midback and glutes as well as pelvic tilts are most effective for their body so they receive these for homework.

You can see there is some overlap and some difference in homework for each person due to what works best for their body. We arrive at this knowledge through a process of testing with each person, as well as an understanding and appreciation for an individual’s situation. Self management physiotherapy is about feeling empowered and confident to take care of yourself armed with the right knowledge about your body and it’s requirements. If you’d like to book with us call 1300 842 850 or book online


Running technique – with Physio Caitlin

Running technique

If you ask any running coach or physio how important good technique is, you’re sure to open up a real can of worms. While there are certainly some elite athletes with unusual running technique, I believe that correct form plays a role in both injury prevention and performance enhancement.

So what does good running technique look like?

  • Overall posture – typically, we’re aiming for the same optimal alignment that we’d look for in any task. That is, a neutral spine, shoulders over hips, feet under hips. The only difference in running is that we are also wanting a slight forward lean to encourage the forward momentum. This forward lean should come from the ankles
  • Leg cycle – running stride should be driven by hip movement. The upper thigh should swing upwards to initiate the stride, with the knee and ankle following through. The foot should then hit the ground underneath the hip. If the foot lands in front this changes the running action from a “push” to a “pull” which is less efficient and a higher risk of injury.
  • Pelvis control – to avoid wasting energy (and unnecessarily loading other structures like your lower back), we also want to see a stable pelvis in all directions. That is, there should be minimal movement of the pelvis forward to back or side to side.
  • Foot position – the foot should stay dorsiflexed (ie toes up) throughout cycle. When the foot hits the ground, ideally it’s the middle to front of the foot that makes initial contact, not the heel
  • Arm drive – focus should be on driving the arm back (often people think of pulling the arms up in front). Legs will copy what the arms do – so important that arm drive stays square (not across body)

Some of these technique points, like arm drive, can be easy to modify and make an immediate and noticeable improvement. However others, like pelvis stability, might be more challenging and also require strength training or consistent technical work (such as drills) to achieve lasting change. If you are interested in improving your running or making yourself more injury-proof, book in with one of our physios today.

Best Physio Brisbane

Postnatal Physiotherapy

Postnatal care is an important part of physiotherapy; as helping a mother regain control of their body and understand the changes that they have undergone is vital to an effective return to their pre -pregnancy self.  Empowering people to be their own health champion and live their Barefoot lifestyle is one of the pillars of our physiotherapy approach . If you are experiencing any discomfort post pregnancy, you may benefit from seeing a Barefoot Physiotherapist for pregnancy physio services. Whether you are 2 weeks or 4 months post-partum it is important to ensure your body is strong and able to support you throughout the joys of motherhood.

Common postnatal changes to your body:

After giving birth you may experience some of the following concerns; urinary incontinence (or leakage), a heavy feeling in your pelvic region, an inability to return to some of your favourite exercises without discomfort (running, jumping, heavy lifting), over active or underactive pelvic floor and rectus diastasis (abdominal separation).  A physiotherapy assessment can help determine your best course of treatment to help resolve these issues and return you to your normal or an improved level of function. 


Physio brisbane

What your Postnatal Physiotherapy session will include:

  1. Your Barefoot Physiotherapist will sensitively listen to your concerns and come up with an assessment and treatment plan to address your issue.
  2. The initial assessment will utilise Barefoot’s plan and test for any nerve irritation, reduced movement range, muscle tightness and joint stiffness. It will also be tailored to your individual concern and if applicable may include an external pelvic floor assessment, exercise review and rectus diastasis measurement.
  3. Your treatment will utilise best practice guidelines and include a combination of hands on treatment, exercise prescription and advice and education.
  4. At the conclusion of the session your Barefoot Physiotherapist will email you a summary of your session and your home program to ensure you are able to help manage your symptoms between sessions.

Book with Barefoot for Postnatal Physiotherapy

If you or someone else is experiencing  pain or discomfort associated with pregnancy we can help assess and determine your best course of treatment. Book in with Barefoot today by calling us on 1300 842 850.

Pelvic girdle pain physio

Prenatal Physiotherapy

As an expectant mother you may be experiencing various discomforts; whether this is baby number one or three your body will be constantly adapting over the course of your pregnancy. If you are experiencing  any pain or discomfort associated with pregnancy or have any questions about your changing body, you may benefit from a prenatal physiotherapy consultation. Barefoot Physiotherapy can help you address your symptoms and be as comfortable as possible throughout your pregnancy with our leading pregnancy physio services.

What to Expect at a Barefoot Prenatal Physiotherapy Appointment:

  1. Your Physiotherapist will address your individual concern and determine whether Physiotherapy is your best course of treatment or if your GP or Obstetrician needs to be consulted.
  2. If your pain or discomfort is musculoskeletal in nature we will then run through our Barefoot Plan; to work out the cause of your symptoms.
  3. The Barefoot Plan includes testing for any nerve irritation, movement restriction, muscular tightness or joint stiffness.
  4. After an assessment your Physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan; which will likely consist of a combination of hands on treatment, exercise prescription or modification and advice and education.
  5. Dependent upon what trimester you are in, your session may also include a pelvic floor external assessment and if needed instruction on how to increase your strength control to prepare your body for childbirth. This could include exercises, breathing control and extra support options i.e. tummy tights.
  6. At the conclusion of your appointment we will email you a summary of  your session with your home exercise program and any education to help you manage your symptoms at home, between appointments. If you have any questions or concerns between your sessions your Barefoot physiotherapist will be contactable by email or the clinic phone.

What to do next:

If this sounds like the type of Physiotherapy you are searching for please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you or someone else is experiencing  pain or discomfort associated with pregnancy we can help assess and determine your best course of treatment. Book in with Barefoot today by calling us on 1300 842 850 or using the book online link on our website.

Breath physio

Thoracic Pain Treatment with Physiotherapy

If you are experiencing thoracic pain, you may benefit from a thorough physiotherapy assessment for thoracic pain treatment. Thoracic pain can present in many ways.  You may feel stiffness or burning between the shoulder blades; tightness or pain around the mid spine or ribcage; difficulty in twisting side to side, reaching overhead or taking a deep breath.  Thoracic pain or stiffness may be involved in neck pain, shoulder pain or low back pain.

At Barefoot Physiotherapy we often see client with these presentations, and we understand how important it is to manage to get you back to feeling your best with day-to-day activities! Because we know how important the management of thoracic pain is, we have done extra training in assessing and treating the thoracic area via the Thoracic Rings Approach. Read on to learn more about Thoracic pain treatment with Physiotherapy.

What is involved in thoracic pain?

The thoracic region is made up of 12 thoracic vertebrae, 12 sets of ribs (10 of which attach to your sternum), your sternum, clavicle and diaphragm. There are many joints and muscles involved in maintaining comfortable movement and breath. The thoracic region is involved in everything from sitting at your desk to doing cartwheels!

Thoracic pain may occur from muscle strain or tightness, joint stiffness or inflammation, or movement overload.  There may be a more serious reason for your pain: fracture after a trauma, systemic illness or thoracic nerve involvement.  Your physiotherapist can help determine if you need imaging or a visit to your GP for thoracic pain treatment.

How is thoracic pain treated?

After a thorough subjective (talking) and objective (hands on, physical) assessment we can determine the most likely cause of your thoracic pain symptoms.  Your physiotherapist will work with you to determine the most efficient way of reducing your symptoms.  This will likely involve:

  • Hands on joint mobilisation, muscle release treatment or dry needling.
  • Mobility and motor control exercises
  • Breath retraining
  • Posture cues
  • Strengthening exercises

The timeline to full recovery is different for every person.  Your Physiotherapist will make sure you are equipped with knowledge and self-management techniques for the best outcome!

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoracic or rib pain contact us to book in for an initial assessment.   Give us a call on 1300 842 850 or click here to book an appointment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Physio

Rheumatoid Arthritis

When considering rheumatoid arthritis physio, there are a number of different types of arthritis, but they all are characterised by inflammation of joints. The type of arthritis most people are familiar with is osteoarthritis (OA). OA can occur in one single joint or multiple joints, is typically experienced in older populations and features loss of cartilage. Past trauma may be a contributing factor, but is not always present. By comparison, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions are when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joint is the target. Eventually most of the joints in the body will become affected if rheumatoid arthritis is present. While the two conditions are quite different, they can both benefit from physiotherapy.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

  • Swollen, sore, warm joints
  • Usually the same joints are affected on both sides of the body
  • Often stiffest in the morning or after prolonged inactivity (think sitting down for a few hours)
  • Typically starts in smaller joints (eg fingers and toes) and progresses to involve larger joints (eg hips, knees, shoulders)
  • Fatigue
  • Periods of ‘flare’ and ‘remission’ – autoimmune conditions often go through waves alternating between being more active, resulting in worse symptoms and then settling down where symptoms may be relative minor
  • Over time, the bones can also be affected and result in the joints visibly changing shape

Rheumatoid Arthritis Physio & Treatment

While there is no cure for RA, there are a number of treatments that can help slow the progression of disease and also ease the symptoms. Best management of RA will involve a rheumatologist (doctor specialising in autoimmune and musculoskeletal conditions) as well as physiotherapy. Medical management largely focuses on medication – including drugs to moderate the immune system as well as anti-inflammatories. Physiotherapy can help in a variety of ways. Hands on treatment is targeted at improving range of motion and reducing pain. Exercise prescription is aimed at increasing functional capacity – this can involve a combination of gentle strength exercises and general low impact aerobic exercise such as walking or hydrotherapy. Physio is also important for education and empowering people to understand their condition so that they can self-manage. Self-empowerment is central to Barefoot’s way of treating and is particularly important for long-term conditions like RA. We can help with learning ways to adjust tasks to unload certain joints, how to self-pace exercise and when to rest.

Book in with Barefoot Physiotherapy

If you or someone you know has RA, we would love to help with their management. Book in with Barefoot today by calling us on 1300 842 850 or booking online.

HAES Physio – Health at Every Size Physiotherapy

Your health is not dependent on your weight.

This may be surprising given the narrative spun from a host of sources including health professionals. Health at Every Size (HAES) is “an approach to public health that seeks to de-emphasise weight loss as a health goal, and reduce stigma towards people who are overweight or obese.” At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we place a lot of value in inclusion and take a non-biased approach to healthcare for our community with leading HAES physio initiatives.

Weight isn’t as 2 dimensional as diet and exercise…

We understand that size is complex and is influenced by many factors outside an individual’s control e.g hormones, genetics, and illness. Yes, diet and exercise definitely play a role, however the research shows that focussing on these factors can often be counterproductive for a person’s overall health and wellbeing. It’s all very familiar when we hear our clients have been told to “just lose weight” in order to solve their health issues or pain. This is a problem because in addition to being misleading, it also tends to have a negative effect on an individual’s health. Research shows that intentional weight loss doesn’t work. 95% or more of people who start dieting end up regaining all the weight they lost and 2/3 of those end up being heavier than when they started. This phenomenon can result in very disordered eating patterns and unhealthy habits, so it makes sense to move the conversation away from weight and focus on health in a more holistic sense.

What does this mean?

We can use so many other outcomes to measure one’s health e.g sleep quality, energy levels, and mood. More accurately, we should look at health as a combination of all of it’s many facets and ask the question, “what healthy habits can I employ to feel better now?”. This may be to focus on the joy of movement itself. This isn’t to say that having the goal of losing weight is wrong, so long as there is a clear understanding as to why.

Whatever your goal may be, we are here to support you on your journey to achieving it and feeling your best. Book your appointment with a HAES Physio team by calling 1300 842 850 or booking online

Dry needling brisbane services

How does Dry Needling work?

We are often asked by clients “how does dry needling work?”. Dry needling is a treatment technique that can be used to improve function of a muscle or decrease pain felt in the body. Dry needling can be used to initiate an immune response and change activation of nerve fibres.  

What Is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a practice used by allied health professionals that have been specifically trained in this technique. Dry needling is named as such to contrast with other types of “wet” needling, think injection of medicine or a tattoo needle.

Dry needling works by using a very thin, single use needle inserted into the body at specific locations depending on what the goal of treatment is. Western Dry Needling focuses on the release of muscle, ‘trigger points’ by inserting the needling directly into the targeted muscle. Eastern Dry Needling in directed by the understanding of meridian or energy lines to treat systemic issues.

The physiotherapists at Barefoot Physiotherapy primarily use western techniques though occasionally eastern techniques are used to support treatment as well.

What Does Dry Needling Do?

You may be wondering “what does dry needling do?”

Dry needling works to alter and improve our body’s capacity to move comfortably. It reduces tension in the muscle by changing the length of muscle fibres. It can decrease overall sensitivity of a muscle or body part. Dry needling can be used to decrease joint stiffness and increase joint movement. It can also be used to calm the overall nervous system of a body, decreasing the stress response that occurs on a mental and cellular level.

So, How Do Dry Needles Work?

How Does Dry Needling Work?

Dry needling works via five main effects:

  • Peripheral (local) effects: initiates a local inflammatory response and release of local endorphins; increases local blood flow; causes a twitch and release response of muscle fibres via changes to calcium channels in the muscle fibres.
  • Segmental (at the spinal cord) effects: pain gating where information from the needle insertion overrides other information from the area; enkephalin (endorphin) releases which acts as an internal Panadol osteo.
  • Extra-segmental (at the brain) effects: releases serotonin, adrenaline and endogenous opioids to reduce pain felt in the whole body.
  • Sympathetic effects: needling can stimulate the autonomic system and change sympathetic output.
  • Immune effects: can support regulation of the immunoinflammatory process by release of endogenous opioids.

When to Use Dry Needling:

And when to use dry needling?

Dry needling can be used for a variety of injuries or concerns. Your physiotherapist may use this technique to help reduce swelling after an acute injury. It can reduce muscle spasm in a semi-acute flare up (e.g., back pain). We can use dry needling to assist in reducing headaches and stress. Dry needling techniques can be used to encourage tissue healing with persistent injuries such as a hamstring tendinopathy. It can be useful in reducing pain and swelling in knee osteoarthritis.

Dry needling is one of many techniques that we use at Barefoot Physiotherapy for the best management of your care. It may be used in addition to joint mobilisations, muscle self-releases and strengthening exercises.

How Does Dry Needling Help Chronic Injuries or Pain?

Dry needling for chronic injuries or pain uses a slightly different approach to dry needling for tight muscles. In chronic injuries or pain, we are wanting to have more systemic changes from our needling techniques. In this instance, we may use more gentle techniques where the needles are left inserted for a longer period of time. We may also use more traditional eastern techniques to support certain systems of the body. We can use eastern techniques with a western framework to provide a variety of stimuli to the area of focus without overwhelming the system while still changing the input to certain joints or muscles.

How Long Does Dry Needling Take to Work?

The timeframe for how long dry needling takes to work changes depending on the reason for using and the technique used. We are often asked, “how does dry needling work with different techniques?”

Pecking techniques where we seek a muscle twitch work immediately and continue with an increase local blood flow for an hour post treatment. A twitch response corresponds with immediate changes to muscle length. Sustained insertion of a dry needle can begin to make changes in as little as 1-10 minutes. Chemical reactions initiated via the insertion of the needle continue to last for up to 48 hours post treatment. You may need multiple sessions utilizing dry needling to gain the full benefit.

Is Dry Needling Painful?

We are often asked if dry needling is painful. There is often a little pinch or “mosquito bite” on the insertion of the needle. As the needle moves into the targeted area of muscle you may feel a dull ache, a slight grab or even a muscle twitch (involuntary muscle activation). The ache will usually subside after the needle has been inserted for a few minutes. Your physiotherapist will be communicating with you during this process. There is a small chance of ongoing sharpness or a zapping sensation. If this is the case the physiotherapy will alter the position of the needle. At Barefoot Physiotherapy we stay in the room with you while the needles are inserted and can adjust or answer questions at any time.

Book In with Barefoot for Dry Needling Today

Hopefully this blog has helped you gain a better understanding of dry needling and how it can be used. If you have questions about using dry needling as a component of your treatment, ask your physiotherapist. Book in with us today by calling us on 1300 842 850 or using the book online link on our website home page.