Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Dry Needling

Dry Needling is a modality that has been found to be successful in relieving trigger points. Not to be confused with the oriental practice of acupuncture, dry needling is being used successfully by physiotherapists who are suitably trained in this technique.

There are two categories of dry needling-superficial dry needling and deep dry needling.

As the name implies, superficial dry needling does not reach the myofascial trigger points and is painless. With deep dry needling, the needle goes directly into the myofascial trigger points, eliciting a twitch response, similar to what occurs when the knots are palpated. The twitch response shows that the needle has reached the knot and pain is reduced or relieved immediately. Deep dry needling may trigger a person’s referred pain. For example, dry needling of myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius (upper back) or sternocleidomastoid muscles (at the side of the neck) may trigger the patient’s migraine.

Many doctors recommend dry needling as the first step in therapy when pain is present, however, patients have to be screened before beginning therapy. Some medical conditions such as infectious diseases, immune disorders and skin problems are contraindicated for this procedure. Some may not treat patients on blood thinners. It is to be noted that dry needling does cause some soreness that may last one or two days. Contact us to discuss the suitability of this treatment for you.

Western Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of therapy in which fine needles are inserted into specific points in order to create neurophysiological reactions in the body and stimulate a healing effect.

Western Acupuncture uses western clinical reasoning for the choice of needle placement while Traditional Acupuncture uses Traditional Chinese Medicine clinical reasoning for the choice of needle placement.  There is a huge overlap in the points used in the different styles of acupuncture as approximately 80% of acupuncture points correspond to trigger points in muscles. This practice utilises western musculoskeletal diagnostic reasoning to choose where the needles will be placed, in trigger points and / or pain control points.

Below are just some of the common benefits of acupuncture:

  • Improve range of motion & joint flexibility.
  • Ease of medication dependence.
  • Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defence system.
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for and recover from, strenuous workouts.
  • Improve the condition of the body
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and improving nerve flow.
  • Improving circulation.
  • Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling.
  • Reduce spasms and cramping.
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
  • Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.

At Active Life Physiotherapy, we often use acupuncture in conjunction with treatment to minimise recovery time from muscle and joint injuries and to decrease pain.