Acupuncture and Dry Needling
Acupuncture is a needling technique that stems from Chinese Medicine and has been used all over the world for the last 2500 years. Historically acupuncture has been considered as a form of alternative medicine however over the last 10 years it has grown in popularity and acceptance within the Western Medicine Model. There is a growing body of literature that supports the effectiveness of acupuncture in common musculoskeletal injuries and pain pathologies. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting very fine, disposable needles into the body to elicit a physiological change. There are over 400 Acupuncture points in the body which lie on traditional meridian channels.
Our Traditional Chinese Practitioners at Hawera Physiotherapy select their acupuncture points based on energy “qi” imbalances within the bodies meridian channels creating a whole body effect for health and well being.
Our physiotherapists use Western acupuncture, where they apply their knowledge of anatomy and pathophysiology to select the appropriate points with the aim of reducing inflammation, promoting tissue healing, improving blood flow, modulating pain pathways, improving muscle flexibility and enhancing overall function.
Dry needling is a Western Acupuncture technique that we utilise to release myofascial trigger points, commonly known as knots. A knot or trigger point is defined by a localised area of tenderness and small palpable nodules which presents within a taut band of muscle tissue. Trigger points can occur for a multitude such as stress, tissue damage, injury and muscle overload. The side effects of trigger points include muscle soreness, stiffness, pain and dysfunction.
Dry needling is a technique we use at Hawera Physiotherapy to reduce trigger points within tight muscle tissue with an aim of reducing pain and stiffness and enhancing muscle function. We use the same fine needles that are used during acupuncture treatment however the application is not the same. The key difference with dry needling is that the needle placement is determined by palpation of the muscle opposed to the pre-defined acupuncture points.
Your Hawera Physiotheray acupuncturist or physiotherapist will use their palpation skills along with your feedback to localise the myofascial trigger points. Once the knots have been localised a very fine needle is inserted directly into the trigger point and stimulated until a number of involuntary muscle twitches have occurred. The insertion of the needle into a trigger point stimulates a local twitch response, where there is a rapid contraction and relaxation within the taut band that is being needled. When this occurs, there is an increase in blood flow to the tight area, a reduction in pain sensitivity and an increase in muscle length. This phenomenon is often associated with discomfort and it is normal to experience a residual ache in the muscles for a few hours following your dry needling session. Once the initial aching from the needling wears off, the muscle pain should be significantly lower, and your movement should be much freer.
Don’t hesitate to ask your therapist should you have any further questions or require more information around the dry needling technique.