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Western Acupuncture & Dry Needling

Acupuncture is an alternate and oldest part of traditional Chinese medicine used for healing processes. It is performed by making defined points (or acupuncture points) on the skin and inserting thin sterile needles through it. It is used treat chronic back pain, headache, neck and joint pain, and menstrual cramps. This treatment is helpful in some of post-operative procedures such as dental pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, and osteoarthritis.

Significance of acupuncture:

  • Helps to relieve pain and regulates the flow of Qi (vital energy)
  • Activates the opioid system in the brain that responds to pain
  • Stimulates the nerve that transmits electrical impulses to spinal cord and brain

For example acupuncture point for gall bladder disease is located at the right shoulder. Pricking the needle at the shoulder helps you to treat the disease condition. Acupuncture is considered to be safe and effective treatment. No serious adverse effects are observed.

Dry needling is an invasive procedure to treat chronic nerve pain and musculoskeletal problems such as myofascial pain syndrome, headache, tennis elbow, and other sports injuries.  Dry needling helps to release the muscle fiber contraction and spasm in skeletal muscle.

Knots or trigger points are formed when the muscle fiber is contracted. A thin hypodermic needle is pricked on the contracted knots. Needling causes the release of pressure from the nerves in these knots and can be continued until the muscle becomes soft. The size of the needle used in dry needling technique is approximately 160 to 300 micrometer, 1 inch in length.

Some of the common side effects of acupuncture and dry needling include mild bleeding at the site where the needle is pricked, fatigue, soreness, drowsiness, skin reactions that include small and red spots.

The difference between use of acupuncture and dry needling are

In acupuncture, the needle is not pricked deeply into the tissues. The technique can be painful and the patient may feel a prick sensation.

In dry needling technique the needle is pricked deeper into the muscles such as tendons and joints. The needle used is a solid filament. This technique works on the neurophysiological disorders.

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