Often I have heard Bureta Physiotherapy been explained as the clinic that Dry Needles, and while this is true – this clinic does dry needle, and is the clinical leaders in this in the bay, it is important to note that this is unique adjunct to your treatment that you may be offered for treatment. This is all aimed at delivering clinical edge treatment helping getting you better faster.
Bureta Physiotherapist Olivia Meehan ( Post grad cert in Acupuncture) explains
Acupuncture and more commonly, dry needling can be powerful adjuncts to physiotherapy treatment. Most of our physiotherapists here at Bureta Physiotherapy are trained in needling therapy, and use it when appropriate to provide pain relief and assist in injury rehabilitation. But what is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling, and how do these therapies work??
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years by a multitude of cultures, but most predominantly the Chinese. Based on meridians, traditional Chinese acupuncture aims to correct imbalances in the flow of qi through channels, by the application and stimulation of needles. This method of acupuncture is not based on scientific knowledge or evidence, but can still be effective for certain conditions. Here at Bureta, some of our physiotherapists do practice traditional Chinese acupuncture for certain conditions, but it is typically not the ‘go-to’ for musculoskeletal issues.
Dry needling is the ‘new kid on the block’ in the scheme of needling therapy, and is based on Western biomedical principles. Dry needling uses the same fine, sterile, single-use needles used in acupuncture, but rather than inserting these needles into acupuncture points, they are inserted into ‘trigger points’ or hyper-irritated muscle tissue. Trigger points are made up of multiple contracted muscle fibers which, due to their neural circuitry, can be responsible for production and maintenance of pain cycles. Active trigger points can refer pain to other areas of your body, and are often felt as a constant ache. Not only are these trigger points painful, but they can and will affect how your joints function, and cause general muscle balance issues. Once the needle has been inserted into the trigger point, your therapist will manipulate the needle to stimulate a local twitch reflex, which is an involuntary spinal reflex causing the muscle fibers to contract, then relax. It is this twitch reflex which helps to resolve the trigger point. Dry needling can cause some pain and weakness during and after the process, but improvements in your symptoms are often immediate and can include increased range of motion, a reduction in pain, and improvement in muscle contractility.
Other western-based theories regarding how acupuncture and dry needling therapies work include:
· Micro-trauma caused by needle insertion causes a local healing response and increase in bloodflow in dysfunctional tissues
· Stimulation of neural pathways by needle insertion to block pain by disrupting the pain signal being sent to the brain.
· Release of opioids and neurochemicals such as endorphins both locally at the site of needle insertion, and at brain and spinal cord levels, causes a reduction in the transmission of pain signalling.
Although dry needling can be hugely effective for muscle release and pain relief, remember it is only one part of treatment, and your physiotherapist at Bureta Physiotherapy will also address biomechanical issues, muscle balance, postural dysfunctions and muscle strength to combat the cause of your injury and pain. Other treatment alongside needling may include: joint mobilisation and other hands-on therapy techniques, but most importantly exercise rehabilitation to restore and maintain optimal function. This multi-dimensional approach is essential for a successful recovery.