Dry needling uses similar needles to acupuncture but it's foundations are based on Western Medicine whereas acupuncture is based on Eastern Medicine. The focus of dry needling is to insert needles in dysfunctional muscles/connective tissue.
At Prom Health, our osteopaths use a wide range of needles with lengths ranging from 30mm to 100mm and thicknesses/gauges ranging from 0.16mm to 4mm. This range allows us to treat a wide range of areas such as fine needles used to treat the jaw in cases of bruxism (clenching), to very long needles used in the gluteal region. Having a wide range of gauges allows us to pick a needle thickness to suit the constitution of the patient, e.g. someone more stressed will need a finer gauge needle.
Needles can be inserted to pretty much anywhere besides the nipples, genitals, umbilicus & eyes. The number of needles inserted is generally between 4-12 and are left in for several minutes. We tend to find needling to be most appropriate for situations in which:
The nervous system is over-active/sensitised, such as stress leading to neck tension & headaches
The muscles are in a spasmodic state & won't respond well to manual therapy, as found particularly in an acute phase of injury
The muscles & connective tissue are overly developed/thickened, such as the forearms of manual labourers, as we struggle to break through all of the relevant restrictions solely using manual therapy
The patient is particularly sensitive to manual therapy; for example, patients with an active fibromyalgia flare
Dysfunctions of the nervous system, such as cramping, tics, muscle fasciculations (twitching)
We discuss the relevant risks associated with needling. Generally the needle insertion involves a sharp prick on insertion and then perhaps a dull awareness. Occasionally the experience is more intense and we will accommodate accordingly. Commonly patients will report tiredness and find spot bruising from needling. Please advised us if you are taking anti-coagulants (blood thinners).