Dry Needling is gaining popularity in the US as an effective method of pain relief. It can be beneficial for a variety of muscular dysfunctions including back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, hip pain and many others. Dry needling works by deactivating "trigger points" in muscles that have become shortened or inflamed due to trauma or overuse. Results are often seen between 1-4 treatments, and often results are more immediate than with traditional acupuncture treatment.
Dry Needling is an specialize acupuncture technique developed by Dr Janet Travell, who was the Physician to former president JFK. This therapy has been recently popularized by Acupuncturists and Physical Therapists in Australia, Canada and the US. In the state of California, only Licensed Acupuncturists and Medical Doctors can legally perform this powerful technique. Because the method is only currently gaining popularity there are very few practitioners well trained in this trigger point release therapy.
While some states (including Colorado and Nevada) allow Physical Therapists to use Dry Needling, the California medical board decided that Dry Needling is a type of acupuncture. Therefore, Dry Needling can only be performed by Licensed Acupuncturists and MDs in California. This legal decision serves to protect public safety, as many states allow Physical Therapists to practice Dry Needling after attending as little as 16 hours of class (2 days)! In comparison, Licensed Acupuncturists have over 3,000 hours of mandatory training, and the majority these hours are dedicated to mastering the safe use of acupuncture needles.
In Dry Needling therapy, an acupuncture needle is inserted into a local area of muscle tension called a “Trigger Point”. Unlike the traditional acupuncture approach, Dry Needling is strictly based on the physical anatomy of muscles and nerve pathways effected. Because of this, there is typically no discussion of “Your Qi”, “Invisible Meridians”, or other aspects of esoteric ancient Chinese philosophy. By using a purely Western approach to acupuncture, many patients feel more comfortable with the treatment approach. In addition, Western-minded patients generally feel like they have a better understanding of why the specific treatment is being performed and how it is expected to help resolve the problem.
When Dry Needling is done, hair-thin acupuncture needles are used. Most patients will not feel the acupuncture needle penetrate the skin, but there should be a feeling of deep pressure when the trigger point is activated. If the targeted muscle is currently in spasm with an active trigger point, the patient may feel muscle cramping or twitching sensation. If the muscle responds to the needle with a small twitch movement, called a “twitch response”, this is generally a good sign and very helpful in resolving trigger points.
Posted in Acupuncture, Pain Management