MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE (DRY NEEDLING)
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is the use of solid filament needles inserted through the skin and into the muscle to release painful trigger points and tight muscles. Dry needling results in the deepest tissue release allowing for improvements in movement and pain. It is called Dry Needling because there is no solution injected as with a hypodermic needle. With Dry Needling, the needle itself and the effects it produces within the tissue is the treatment.
What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Dry Needling is based on Western medical research and principles, whereas acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. The main similarity is that the same sterile, disposable solid filament needles are used. Dry needling can assist with muscular pain but it is not designed to help with illness or disease in the body as Traditional Chinese Medical Acupuncture is.
How does it work?
When an injury occurs from repetitive use or trauma, inflammation (swelling) will be produced from the damaged tissues. The damaged tissues will also go into a protective tense state to guard against further damage to the injured tissue. The tension and inflammation inhibit microcirculation which limits both the oxygen rich blood reaching the injured site and the waste products leaving the area. The injury site becomes hypoxic (decreased in oxygen) which stimulates the body to produce scar tissue. This scarring builds up around the muscles and tissues limiting the tissues ability to fully function (lengthen/shorten) and can also cause compression and irritation of nerves all of which inevitably lead to disturbances in gait and function
Dry needling uses a small, solid filament needle which is inserted in a contracted painful knotted muscle to create what is known as a local twitch response. This reflex is both diagnostic and therapeutic as it is the first step in breaking the pain cycle as research shows will decrease muscle contraction, reduce chemical irritation, improve flexibility and decrease pain. When a needle is inserted into muscle it will also produce a controlled lesion and will cut between three to fifteen thousand individual muscle fibres! The body considers the needle as a foreign invader and will activate the immune system as a response. The cut muscle fibres also produce an inflammatory reaction that your body will respond to not just locally but all over the body to reduce inflammation systemically.
On insertion of the needle oxygen and nutrient rich blood is brought to the injured area to assist with the healing process, this will also assist with the removal of waste products. The insertion of the needle will also send a message to the brain to release endorphins (the feel good hormone) this will help to reduce pain.
Does it hurt?
You may or may not feel the insertion of the needle. The needle manipulation is intended to produce a local twitch response that can elicit a very brief (less than a second) painful response some people describe as a deep ache or cramping sensation. Again, the therapeutic response occurs with the elicitation of the local twitch response and is a desirable reaction.
Who can benefit from Dry Needling?
Almost anyone experiencing a variety of pain problems including, but not limited to:
- Neck/Back Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Tennis/Golfers Elbow
- Hip and Gluteal Pain
- Knee Pain
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Muscular Strains/Ligament Sprains
- Chronic Pain
Are there any side effects to Dry Needling?
Side effects may vary among individuals but typically are very mild, they can include:
— Muscles Soreness
— Bleeding, when the needles are inserted or removed.
— Bruising at the site of needling.
Dry Needling is not suitable for you if you:
— Have a fear of needles
— Suffer with Hemophilia or any other blood clotting disorder
— Are taking medication to thin the blood i.e Warfarin
— Are in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After 12 weeks needling is safe but cannot be done into the lower back.
— I am not able to needle into the groin due to the large amount of lymph nodes in this area.