Dry needling, otherwise known as Western Acupuncture, is a musculoskeletal treatment process used by our podiatrists involving small acupuncture needles. This modality is called dry needling due to the fact that the small acupuncture needles inserted into the body are not injecting any fluid, unlike a hyperdermic needle which would administer your flu shot.
A common question asked by patients is ‘what is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?’
Acupuncture works on Traditional Chinese Medicinal philosophies of meridians (or lines of energy) that create balance to bodily systems and organs. Needles are placed along pre-defined acupoints to unblock and restore the flow of energy. It is believed this can help with the function of vital organs and bodily processes.
Dry needling is based on a Western understanding of anatomy and muscle function. Dry needling involves inserting small acupuncture needles through the skin and into the muscle to attempt to restore function to the muscle and fascial tissue below.
The full mechanisms of action are not known, however, it is believed inserting needles can elicit influence on our central nervous system to release pain relieving chemicals from our brains. Dry needling can also be used to release “trigger points” or “muscle knots” to restore length and movement to muscles which have become functionally shortened or in spasm. The muscle may “twitch” when the needle is inserted into the muscle in spasm, relaxing the muscle whilst reducing inflammation and improving blood flow.
Dry needling is a relatively painless modality, with a light sting type feeling as the needle penetrates the skin, and potentially a small cramping sensation if a twitch response is elicited. Following treatment some muscle soreness may initially be felt, however this is generally short lived somewhere between 2 hours to maximum 2 days.
Our podiatrists use dry needling as a treatment to help with foot related concerns such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinopathies, calf and lower leg tightness as well as many other lower leg pathologies. It can be very useful in breaking the long term pain cycle which accompanies many of the conditions we treat as podiatrists, and may help with any long term pain you need addressed!
Our podiatrists are fully trained and qualified to perform dry needling, so if you feel this may be an effective treatment for you give one of our clinics a call today and book in for an assessment.