Dry Needling and Restless Legs

I know from several fellow sufferers that they benefit from dry needling for their restless legs.

Dry needling treatment falls under physiotherapy. It seems to be quite painful for some, but apparently also regularly has a favorable result.

When I first heard about this, I initially thought of acupuncture. However, the fellow sufferers told me that dry needling really did take place at the physiotherapist.

In this blog I will discuss dry needling in more detail. I describe what it is and make the link with restless legs.

What is dry needling

Dry needling involves pricking the thickening of a muscle with a needle. Such a thickening is caused by too high muscle tension.

Another name for these painful, hardened spots is trigger points.

Dry needling is a part of physiotherapy or manual therapy. The therapists are specially trained for this. It is not a treatment in itself, but is part of a total treatment.

The idea of ​​dry needling is that the nerve in a certain muscle does not function properly. Over time, the muscle becomes overly sensitive and hardens. These hardenings are painful.

If the process of muscle hardening is not interrupted, chronic pain develops.

During dry needling therapy, the therapist uses thin acupuncture needles. Usually only one needle is used. The therapist briefly stimulates the muscle with this.

After the puncture, the muscle initially cramps. After that, if all goes well, a certain relaxation sets in. The reduction in muscle tension is often immediately noticeable. Sometimes it takes a little longer.

Dry needling is not acupuncture, because it does not work from an underlying energetic idea. The treatment therefore does not use meridians to determine the access points.

In the Netherlands, dry needling has been included in the professional profile of the physiotherapist since 2007.

Restless legs

Now that I know a bit more about dry needling, I have become quite curious if this could also work for me.

I experience very tense calf muscles at night. Massaging it is quite painful. After massage, however, I often notice a reduction in muscle tension and my restless legs are less bothersome.

Unfortunately, when I wake up again after sleeping for a while, the tension and hardening in my calf muscles is usually completely back.

If I understand correctly, the effect of dry needling is very similar to that of massaging. I wonder how long you benefit from it.

In one of the articles I read on the subject, I saw that the Association against Quackery sees no evidence that dry needling is better than massage or keeping the muscles warm.

I can’t say anything for sure about this, because I’ve never had a dry needling treatment myself. I do know from a number of fellow sufferers that they have benefited from it.

2 thoughts on “Dry Needling and Restless Legs”

  1. Hi Scott,
    Dry needling means that no fluid is injected. The needles stay in the muscle for a short time. No tapping involved.

  2. Hello Sylvia.
    This is very interesting. The English translation says “dry needling.” Is there a “wet” needling? And, second question: are the needles left in as long as acupuncture needles or is it a matter of sticking the area repeatedly with a tapping-like movement? Thank you.


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