At Gold Medal Physiotherapy, we use various strategies to help our clients get the best results possible. We frequently incorporate dry needling into our treatment plans because of its many benefits. Before making any decisions, we always consult with our clients. We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about needling in this blog to assist you in determining if dry needling is the best course of treatment for you.
Dry needling: what is it?
Dry needling involves pricking a specific body part with tiny disposable needles to elicit a response. It is called “dry” needling because the needle lacks any fluid. Unlike medical injections, such as cortisone injections, it does not happen, which would be considered “wet needling.” Dry needling should only be performed by a trained and licensed healthcare professional.
How does acupuncture stack up to this?
Acupuncture’s entire therapeutic strategy is derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Typically, four years of training are required to become an acupuncturist. With additional training, other allied health specialists (such as physiotherapists, podiatrists, or massage therapists) can safely perform dry needling, also known as Western dry needling, as an acupuncture technique. Using meridian lines, traditional acupuncture focuses on the flow of energy through the body.
Although it can be incorporated into a treatment plan for musculoskeletal problems, eastern acupuncture is more frequently used for general well-being. Stress management is incorporated, even in the treatment of morning sickness. Conversely, dry needling typically targets muscle trigger points and is employed to reduce tension. Longer needles are, therefore, frequently employed in dry needling. Most of the techniques we use at Gold Medal Physiotherapy are Western, but we occasionally use Eastern techniques to support treatment.
What is the process of dry needling?
Dry needling operates by several mechanisms:
- Needling the area where the needle is inserted causes a minor local inflammatory reaction. There is also a local release of endorphins known as “happy chemicals.” The delivery of nutrient-rich blood and the removal of waste are aided by increased local blood flow. If a muscle twitches occasionally, it may change the calcium channels in the muscle fibres, causing the muscle to relax.
- Release of the pain-relieving endorphin enkephalin is one of the effects on the spinal cord segments. Data from the needle insertion is prioritised over other data from the area in a situation known as “pain gating,” another occurrence.
- Extra-segmental (at the brain) effects: Several chemicals are released, such as serotonin, adrenaline, and endogenous opioids, which assist in reducing pain felt throughout the entire body (not just in the area where dry needling occurs).
- The sympathetic effects of needling include a decrease in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, also known as “fight-or-flight,” and an increase in the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as “rest and digest.”
- Immune system effects: The immunoinflammatory response can be controlled by released endogenous opiates.
What medical conditions are helped by dry needling?
Dry needling, which has many benefits overall and can reduce muscle tension, can be beneficial for a variety of conditions, including:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Nerve pain and problems
- Additional shoulder pain and shoulder bursitis
- Hip pain
It helps with both brand-new and enduring (chronic/long-term) issues.
Ask one of our Gold Medal Home physiotherapists about dry needling to learn more about it. Visit this page to make a reservation.