Dry needling was established and built upon from the original model of Chinese acupuncture. It has been used safely for more than 2000 years.
It was not until new research was found on the benefits these fine needles have on releasing muscle tension that dry needling was introduced.
This newer concept known as dry needling had a different technique to traditional acupuncture. It was formed on the basis of musculoskeletal therapy to release tension and “trigger points” which can be found in muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments.
Medical doctors and allied health professionals all around the world are using dry needling for treating muscle dysfunction and pain.
So how else does dry needling different to acupuncture?
Since the theory of dry needling was built upon the foundations of traditional Chinese acupuncture slight similarities can be seen. One example of this is the needles are almost identical.
The most obvious difference between the two treatments is the theory and technique behind them. Chinese acupuncture works on the body as a whole, to restore wellness and balance energy flow. This is done through specific sites and meridian lines in the body.
Dry needling works specifically on the musculoskeletal system. The treating therapist uses their hands to feel the area of pain looking for any signs of tightness or knots, known as “trigger points”. The needles are then inserted into these areas to release the tension and stimulate the body’s own pain relief system.
“Trigger points” or sore tight spots in the muscles are often very tender, due to sensitive nerve endings. They also cause the muscles to contract and shorten, which in itself can become painful and cause dysfunction.
The ultimate goal of dry needling is to cause a local “ twitch response” to release muscle tension, pain and to restore normal muscle function. This specific form of therapy is very beneficial for acute or chronic pain, with very little side effects.
Will it Hurt and what are the side effects?
The short answer is no for most people. Majority of people do not even feel the needles penetrating the skin. A quick cramp like sensation known as the “twitch response” can be felt during the session and temporary discomfort or aching will be experienced after treatment in few individuals.
We find most of our patients quickly familiarise themselves with these sensation and even welcome it, as deactivating the trigger point, reduces pain and restores normal function. It also causes the body to release natural opioids that make you feel relaxed.
Dry needling has very few side effect for most people, and all needles used are single use and sterile. In few cases minimal bruising or bleeding may occur and precautions with blood thinning medication needs to be take.
The treatment can make some people very relaxed and fatigued so care with driving is recommended.
The podiatrists at Proactive Podiatry are specifically trained in dry needling and can treat your chronic or acute pain in your legs and feet. Please call us today to make an appointment to discuss your dry needling treatment options or make an online appointment today.