DRY NEEDLING AND OSTEOPATHY
Dry needling is a treatment that uses fine, single-use needles, the same as those used in acupuncture. The main purpose of this treatment technique is to decrease the tension within the muscle. These tight spots are known as ‘trigger points’. It is also used to improve nerve conduction, blood supply, the strength of tendons and ligaments, and to stimulate reflex mechanisms within the area. At Equilibrium Sports and Spinal, your Osteopath will use dry needling in conjunction with other Osteopathic techniques when they see fit.
The overall goal is to reduce muscle pain and spasm, increase the range of motion of the surrounding joints, and provide an overall increase in the function of the body.
When Would Dry Needling Be Beneficial?
A number of conditions treated by Osteopaths can benefit from this style off treatment, but it will normally make up only a small part of your osteopathic treatment. The following conditions can respond well to dry needling:
- Tennis/Golfers Elbow
- Back and neck pain
- RSI conditions
- Joint sprains
- Piriformis syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Acute sporting injuries
- Chronic pain conditions
Is Dry Needling Painful?
As pain is a subjective experience, no patient’s experience will be the same. However, as the needle used is so fine most patients do not feel the needle pierce the skin.
Most commonly once the needle has entered the muscle, a small twitch or cramping sensation can be felt. There may be a small ache, slight numbness, or heaviness. This feeling normally subsides and can be considered a good sign. The ache can indicate that the correct point has been found, and your muscle will soon relax.
Some local soreness may occur and may last between 24-48 hours after being needled. This is similar to any technique used during your osteopathic consultation.
Is Dry Needling The Same As Acupuncture?
No. Although the same needles are used, the objectives of the treatments are different. It is most commonly used to treat tight areas of muscles, known as ‘trigger points’. Acupuncture, however, focuses on inner body energy (Qi). Acupuncture needles are placed in very specific, pre-determined points to help facilitate and improve the Qi. Stimulating Acupuncture points can allow the body to properly heal.
Dry needling is an adjunctive course for Osteopaths. Practitioners who have a degree such as Osteopathy or Physiotherapy can do the training.
Osteopaths that utilize dry needling are, therefore, not acupuncturists unless they also hold a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine or a masters of Acupuncture.
Dr. Chris Devenish (Osteopath)
Chris is an experienced dry needling practitioner having completed his certification in 2014. If you think you could benefit from this treatment modality do not hesitate to make an appointment or make contact with Chris today!