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Saturday, 21 September 2013 17:59

Dry Needling - Western Acupuncture

 By Dr Kirsten Cloete

Simply put, dry needling is the practice of using a sterile acupuncture needle to get rid of painful and troublesome 'knots' or 'trigger points' that can be found in muscles all over the body.

How does it work?

A trigger point is esentially an area of muscle which becomes contracted, often due to overuse or chronic tension, and can feel very tight and tender to the touch. Due to this contraction, the normal blood flow (and therefore oxygen supply) to the muscle is affected, and the muscle feels constantly tight and painful. An acupuncture needle inserted directly into this contacted area (the trigger point), creates an area of 'microtrauma' in the muscle, basically raising the area as a red flag to the body. The body then flushes the area out with blood (and therefore oxygen) and helps to get the muscle functioning normally again and feeling easier! A recent study on the effects of dry needling on the trapezius muscles concluded that '...after removal of the needle, the blood flow and oxygen saturation increased significantly from the pretreatment level...and these values remained high throughout the 15-minute recovery period.' (JMPT 2012 Nov-Dec;35(9):685-91.)

Is it painful?

The second that the needle reaches the trigger can make the muscles twitch slightly, and the patient will often feel a brief ache in the muscle. For most people though, this feeling is very tolerable, and some people hardly feel it at all. The beauty of dry needling though is that its quick, and it works!

How can it help me?

In conjunction with chiropractic adjustments, dry needling is an extremely effective method of releasing tight muscles around the neck and shoulders (which may contribute to headaches), lower back, forearms (muscles invloved in tennis elbow and other repetitive strain type injuries), and just about any other muscle which contains trigger points.

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Read 4793 times Last modified on Monday, 22 December 2014 18:59