What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word needle? Are you scared? Or do needles not bother you? Over the years, we have experienced a plethora of responses from patients when the word needle is brought up in treatment conversation, particularly pertaining to acupuncture. We assure you, there is no need for worry. Needling doesn’t really hurt and can bring tremendous relief instantly to muscular pain.
There can be many structures in the human body that can produce pain. Pure muscular pain is one of those structures. Pain can also come from discs, tendons, ligaments, joints, capsules, nerves, fascia, organs, etc. Our job as chiropractic physicians is to first and foremost determine the pain generator. This is accomplished through extensive examination and functional testing. Once the pain generator is determined to be muscular in nature, we get our needles “sharpened” to fix this problem really fast for our patients.
Dry Needling, trigger point dry needling or myofascial dry needling are the many names given to this procedure; all with the same meaning. This is NOT acupuncture and not based on any Oriental Medicine/Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. The premise of dry needling is to insert a solid filament needle into a tight, sore, achy or spasm in muscle to create an instant “reset” of the involved muscle. Control-Alt-Delete is another way of thinking of it. Nothing is actually injected into the muscle hence the term “dry” needling. Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it has and is advanced into the muscle, the feeling of discomfort can vary drastically from patient to patient. Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp — which is often referred to as a ‘twitch response’. The twitch response also has a biochemical characteristic to it, which likely affects the reaction of the muscle, symptoms, and response of the tissue. The “twitch response” is the ultimate goal of the treatment and when this is obtained, the reset has occurred. The patient may only feel the cramping sensation locally or they may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. A reproduction of their pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, thereby reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle. Typically positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions, but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner. Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits. (www.kinetacore.com)
We have been practicing the art of functional dry needling at The Hart Wellness Center for many years now. This tool, along with many others, allows us to fix 95% of our patients in less than six visits. Please visit www.hartwellnesscenter.com or call our Flossmoor office at 708.799.7807 for more details and to schedule your dry needling appointment today! Keep in mind that our Frankfort location located at 32 W. Nebraska Street, Unit 1A (779.333.7252) will be opening October 2nd, 2017 (see photo insert) in which we will bring our skill and expertise to the Frankfort community!