Medical acupuncture – or dry needling – is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. It is not the same as acupuncture based on traditional Chinese medicine, as the decisions on where to insert the needles are based on an understanding of western anatomy rather than Chinese medicine.
Dry Needling is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves the use of a fine filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body, which produces pain and typically contains a trigger point. Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin. Usually, a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort upon insertion of the needle. However, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp.
Tight and restricted muscles will reduce the blood supply to an area, limiting both the nutrition to these tissues and the removal of waste products. These build up and lead to pain. When putting a sterile acupuncture needle into a tight muscle the following happens:
- the body recognises the needle as ‘non-self’ and therefore proceeds in attacking it causing blood to rush to that area
- the muscle eventually releases and relaxes in order to allow blood to flow into and ‘attack’ the non-self needle
The benefits go further than this, as certain muscles that could be deep and difficult to massage can be reached with a needle. You can also be specific with your treatment, aiming for a specific muscle rather than a generalised area.Typically, positive results are apparent within 1-2 treatment sessions.
At Backs Etc. acupuncture is used as an adjunct to enhance the effect of the manual therapy.
If a patient does not wish to have acupuncture then needles will NOT be used in treatment.