What is Medical / Electro Acupuncture (dry needling)?
Medical acupuncture is the application of fine filament needles inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. The needle is manually manipulated until a twitch response is achieved. This twitch response is an involuntary spinal cord reflex in which muscle fibers in a taut band of muscle contracts, this feels much like a localised muscle cramp often accompanied with a dull ache. Medical Acupuncture is a very effective treatment for neuromuscular dysfunction. Healthy muscles will feel very little in the way of pain on insertion of a needle. However, muscles that are shortened and have active trigger points will illicit a twitch response. It is not uncommon for patients to feel reproduction of their pain and this can be very helpful for the practitioner in attempting to diagnose the possible cause.
Medical acupuncture is a fantastic technique in deactivating trigger points, restoring normal length in muscles and significantly reducing pain.
Electro-acupuncture is the application of needles inserted into the muscle and/or across a joint. An electrical current is applied between pairs of needles delivering a wave like pulse across whole muscles/muscle groups and joints such as knees, ankles and elbows. There are some benefits to using electro over medical acupuncture and these can be described as the following;
- Electro is generally quicker than medical acupuncture due to the prolonged and continued stimulus from the electrical pulse as opposed to manual manipulation.
- Electro can illicit a much stronger stimulation without causing tissue damage.
- Electro is a more comfortable treatment particularly when it comes to tendonitis issues across joints.
- Because we can control the frequency and intensity of this treatment we have a much higher probability of releasing biochemical substances (pain relieving hormones) from the brain, this is an exceptionally good alternative treatment for those people who have adapted to normal stimulus through medical acupuncture and do not seem to gain any significant results in the form of pain relief.
What does it do?
- Suppresses pain signals by blocking messages between muscle receptors and the central nervous system.
- Increases blood flow to the area promoting healing.
- Releases endorphins, enkephalin, endormorphin etc (the body’s natural pain killer) inducing analgesia.
Medical / Electro acupuncture can be a superior treatment over massage therapy as practitioners can treat deeper layers of muscle and illicit that twitch response that is otherwise difficult to reach with hands and elbows thus giving immediate relief of symptoms.
What can Acupuncture help?
- Muscle strains and spasms
- Frozen shoulder symptoms
- Tennis and Golfers elbow
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Joint pain
Possible side effects immediately following treatment.
- Localised pain and bruising
- Nausea and dizziness
- And in extreme cases fainting