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What Is Dry Needling!?

Written By Coastal Integrative Health on February 17, 2015

Dry Needling is a relatively new and modern form of medical acupuncture. It is not Traditional Chinese acupuncture, Oriental Medicine acupuncture, or Japanese acupuncture. These are stand-alone treatment systems that treat diseases and disorders of all of the 12 body systems. It is called “dry” because there is no liquid or colloidal injectate being introduced to the tissue by a hollow syringe. Acupuncture very simply means any needle, for any purpose, being pushed through the skin or dermis. In this sense, and definition, a tetanus injection is a type of acupuncture. Phlebotomy is type of acupuncture. But, these are not done with the intent or for the purpose of acupuncture. Dry needling is a procedure which is focused on neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. One of the most helpful results of dry needling is to resolve nervous system inhibitions that are leading to muscle group strength and sometimes length imbalances that result in acute pain from musculoskeletal conditions that become intermittent or constant and continue to exist longer than the anticipated 4-8 weeks for “inflammation” to resolve on its own. There is no tongue diagnosis as in traditional acupuncture. Acupuncture pulses are not assessed in the wrists for a meridian pulse diagnosis. A modern orthopedic musculoskeletal exam is performed which may include blood pressure being checked in more than one body position, physical examination of the body, range of motion assessment, strength testing with dynamometer devices or through manual muscle testing, and orthopedic special tests which are common to any physical exam by a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathic medicine, chiropractic physician, or physical therapist. Dry needling is usually deeper than traditional acupuncture and is meant to access trigger points in deeper muscle groups that cannot be accessed by superficial needling. All needling sites and insertion locations have been researched on cadaver studies, animal studies, and live human studies in conjunction with radiographic and/ or real time ultrasound imaging to assure the safety of these procedures. Physical therapists who performed dry needling have graduated from graduate school programs that include typically seven anatomy classes in one form or another from gross anatomy with human cadaver dissection, with human cadaver brain and spinal cord dissection, and through more than one type of orthopedic physical examination course. This is the same amount of anatomy training as doctors of medicine who later go onto surgical residencies. The dry needling occurs in areas of muscles that are safe to needle away from nerves and arteries. They have also participated in and passed examinations on post-graduate dry needling training courses. It is also performed in areas of muscles already research proven to contain the greatest frequency of trigger points. Dry needling is also an evidenced based procedure clinically proven in random clinical trials and other modern research methodology to increase healing, decrease rehab visits, and progress otherwise stalled healing processes or post-operative recoveries that may have other medical complications. Some chronic conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, knee arthritis, hip arthritis, chronic back pain, chronic shoulder pain have all been proven to respond better to physical therapy including manual therapy and dry needling, than to physical therapy exercise alone, physical therapy exercises and physical modalities alone, and also physical therapy exercises and manual therapy. It has been extensively researched, and then included in the German national health plan as well as the national health program for the United Kingdom and Ireland for several years.

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Posted In: Arthritis Back Pain Leg Pain Leg Pain Sciatica Sciatica tendonitis Trigger Points Neck pain Physical Therapy Carpal Tunnel Plantar Fasciitis Wrist Pain Headaches Numbness & Tingling dry needling