Dry Needling or Medical Acupuncture

What is Medical Acupuncture or Dry Needling used for?

At the Mersea Road Clinic we have Osteopaths who are also trained to provide Dry Needling, which is sometimes called Myofascial Acupuncture.  This involves the placing of acupuncture needles into certain parts of the body to help with the healing of the injury the patient presents with.  Dry needling is often used to help the patients we treat from the NHS treatments with their pain.

As well as chronic pain Dry Needles are used for a wide variety of complaints including back pain, neck pain, tennis & golfers elbows, Achilles tendonitis, muscular trigger points and pain, shoulder injuries and headaches.

How does Dry Needling actually work?

Dry Needling has some similarities to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture, but it works on quite different principles.  The needles used are the same but where they are placed to have their effect is quite different.  TCM will place the needles into what are known as Meridian points where as Dry Needling will often place the needles directly into the local anatomy of the injury being treated.

When the needles are placed into the problematic area, evidence suggests that they initiate a neurological and chemical change in the body.  These changes inhibit our perception and response to pain.  Dry Needling also releases muscular trigger points (knots) which cause muscle tension and mechanical tightness.  It also increases blood supply to the area which is essential for any healing.

Can I have Dry Needling treatments?

Almost everyone can have Dry Needling, including pregnant ladies. There are a few situations where Dry Needling is contraindicated, which mean the use of dry needling is inappropriate.  As a full Case History is taken by the Osteopath before any treatment is administered where all conditions and medications are disclosed, these situations are identified and Dry Needling is not used.  Examples of these situations are blood clotting conditions and blood thinning medication.

Can I have dry needling when I am pregnant?

Yes it is safe to have medical acupuncture throughout your pregnancy. Many women find this an effective way of relieving joint and muscle pain related to the changes that occur to their body during pregnancy.

How will it affect me?

How the patient responds to Dry Needling is very unique to that person and can be very different to another person.  Some people have a great reaction to the treatment and feel completely better after one or two sessions whereas some have a slower reaction and take many more treatments.  In the worse cases the patient receives no real benefit from the treatment but they do not ever get worse due to the Dry Needling.  It does work extremely well in conjunction with all osteopathic treatment.

In regards to the actual sensation the patient feels when having Dry Needling, most are completely unaware, they do not feel any pain or discomfort when the needles are placed into the area.  Sometimes the patient reports a reproduction of their symptoms of discomfort and also a feeling of warmth when the needle is placed in a muscular trigger point.  This often only lasts a few moments.  As the muscle releases with the needle in it, the practitioner may need to re-stimulate the area by pushing the needle in further.  This again may cause some of the discomfort previously felt.  The patient may feel a little sore temporally after a Dry Needling treatment and can also feel tired and sleep more than usual the night of the treatment.  Often the patient will report some immediate relief to their symptoms after a treatment.