Western Acupuncture

western AcupuntureWhat is Western Acupuncture / Dry Needling?

Western acupuncture is similar to Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in that fine needles are inserted into specific points in order to create a relaxing / healing effect. There is a huge overlap in the points used in the different styles of acupuncture as approximately 80% of acupuncture points correspond to trigger points in muscles. Dry needling uses acupuncture needles primarily for the release of trigger points in muscles. So the needles and most of the points are the same but the rational for needle placement is different. Western Acupuncture uses western clinical reasoning for the choice of needle placement and is not concerned with the evaluation of chi, yin and yang or other Traditional Chinese Medicine protocol. This practise utilises western musculoskeletal diagnostic reasoning to choose where the needles will be placed, in trigger points and / or pain control points.

What is a trigger point?

An active trigger points is a hyperirritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band of muscle. These muscles often appear tight, weak, do not respond to stretching and cause restricted joint range of motion. On compression trigger points are exquisitely tender and can give rise to distinctive referred pain patterns and or a local muscle twitch response or a whole body jump response. Dry needling is a very effective method of relieving trigger points.

Trigger points in muscles can be caused by emotional stress, postural strain, trauma, fatigue, altered breathing patterns, sleep deprivation, infections, and mineral deficiencies. Once a trigger point is established it can become self perpetuating and persist for decades until it is adequately release. If the trigger point is not released it can lead to altered joint motion and be the cause of recurring neck, hip and low back pain for example.

Is acupuncture effective?

Considerable research has been done on chiropractic, acupuncture and dry-needling on the treatment of chronic low back pain: In 2008 the Cochrane Collaboration, the world foremost source of evidence based medicine information, concluded there is evidence of pain relief and increased capacity to complete activities of daily living (improved function) for acupuncture as compared to no treatment or sham therapy. Spinal manipulation, chiropractic care, has been shown to be more effective for the management of low back pain than acupuncture alone. Current evidence shows that acupuncture added to other conventional therapies, as chiropractic, relieves pain and improves function better than conventional therapies or acupuncture alone. For centuries the Chinese have used spinal manipulation and acupuncture together for the relief of chronic low back pain and other ailments. Western research now confirms the benefits of combining both chiropractic and acupuncture. We are pleased to offer the extra benefits of dry needling for the release of trigger points to the benefits of manipulation for the restoration of joint movement to our patients. The combination of treatments is effective in reducing pain and restoring function – increasing the individual’s ability to participate in activities of daily living.

Is there anything your practitioner needs to know?

Apart from the usual medical details, it is important that you let your practitioner know if you:

  • Have ever experienced a fit, faint or funny turn
  • Have a pacemaker or any other electrical implants
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Are taking anti-coagulants or any other medication
  • Have damaged heart valves or have any other particular risk of infection
  • Are pregnant
  • Have diabetes
  • Have cancer
  • Have hepatitis B or AIDS
  • Are allergic to metal
  • Have rheumatoid arthritis or any other immune disorders
  • Have any artificial implants(e.g. joint replacements, metal plates, breast implants)
  • Arterial stints

Single-use, sterile, disposable needles are used in this clinic.