So you’ve been on a Dry Needling course and have started treating patients using the technique. This may not hold true for all of you, but I was somewhat nervous when first starting to use needles clinically. I quickly realised the apprehension could be perceived by my patient but once I became more confident in my handling and needle insertion I perceived my patients to find the technique more comfortable and better clinical results followed.
Good assessment is key
I have found the key to effective treatment in a MSK setting is a good assessment. This means getting your hands on the patient and performing a careful and deliberate palpation assessment as well as looking at other relevant objective findings. However preceding this, a good subjective should give you a very good indication of a patient's ‘sensitivity’ and will help guide your objective assessment and subsequent treatment.
Getting dosage right
The concept of ‘dose’ is becoming recognised as crucial to good clinical outcomes. Dose may be defined as the level of sensory input provided to the CNS during the process of needling. Too much in a sensitive patient may brings about an adverse reaction which may mean an exacerbation of symptoms. Too little and there may be no therapeutic effect. The aim is to get the dose right for the patient and this is the tricky part.