Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Western Acupuncture

We use acupuncture to treat musculoskeletal conditions by inserting acupuncture needles into traditional acupuncture points. Acupuncture tends to be a more superficial treatment than dry needling that focuses on restoring energy or “Qi” to the body. It is thought there are blockages that can be restored by properly placing needles along energy channels called meridians.

Recent research has shown that this creates local, segmental, spinal and supraspinal effects for pain modulation and an increasingly large body of scientific evidence exists that now reinforces what the Chinese have known for years – that is that acupuncture works.

The insertion of the needle creates a local inflammatory response to help stimulate a healing response. The needle also stimulates local nerve fibres to help modulate pain at the spinal cord level and create descending pain inhibition from the brain.

Only single use, sterilized needles are used at Integrate Physiotherapy. Needle insertion is generally minimally painful and the needles are left in for around 10-20 minutes in most cases.

Dry Needling

Integrate Physiotherapy offers Dry Needling or Trigger Point Dry Needling to the local areas of Warner, Warner Lakes, Bray Park, Brendale, Lawnton, Strathpine, Bridgeman Downs, Strathpine, Cashmere, Aspley, Bald Hills, North Lakes and Mango Hill.

Trigger Point Dry needling is a treatment that uses acupuncture needles, but that is where the similarity to acupuncture stops. Acupuncture needles are inserted into the trigger points in a vigorous “pecking” technique to help stimulate a response.

Dry Needling directly treats the neuromuscular system affecting muscle tightness, joint mobility, and symptoms of pain and irritation. Testing active trigger points with an EMG needle has shown that there is increased spontaneous electrical activity (SEA) at this active trigger point. Kind of like buzzing or uncontrolled electricity causing the nerve muscle connection to trigger the muscle to be tight.

This tightness can cause limited range of joint motion resulting in a reduction of normal functional activities of the whole body. Recent research has reported that there are numerous inflammatory and pain producing chemicals at an active trigger point causing pain and dysfunction of the muscle, consequently affecting the local nerves and joints.

The dry needle has been shown, when causing a local twitch response (LTR) in the active trigger point and muscle fibre, to decrease or completely reduce that spontaneous electrical activity and reduce or completely eliminate the irritating chemicals in that active trigger point. This release can immediately improve range of motion, decrease pain and improve function. Patients often feel a significant cramping sensation from the twitch response but then feel an immediate improvement of their symptoms.

Utilizing trigger point dry needing in manual therapy practice allows the patient and the therapist a hastened return to strengthening and exercise that results in a faster return to function and improved maintenance of that dysfunction.