At AT Health we use a variety of techniques, with dry needling being one of our most popular. Unlike medical needles which may have a medication within it, our needles are "dry" and are used to penetrate the skin into certain musculature with the aim to release the deep lying tissues that are more difficult for a manual therapist to treat.
You may have also heard dry needling referred to as medical acupuncture, or trigger point dry needling.
What's the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?
Whilst dry needling and acupuncture both involve a dry needle that penetrates the skin, their intent is very different.
Acupuncture originates from China and aims to manipulate the flow of Qi (energy) within the body to heal a variety of conditions and medical complaints. Dry needling however follows evidence based guidelines, and works on the musculoskeletal system to target certain locations within the body to improve range of movement and stimulate blood flow.
At AT Health our intent is to use dry needling to work on the neuromuscular system helping to reduce pain, muscular tension and in turn increase the patients range of movement so that they can get back to doing the activities they enjoy doing most.
What does a dry needling session involve?
AT Health is primarily an osteopathic clinic, and therefore if it is the first time you are coming in we will take a full case history. This involves asking you questions about your symptoms, but also some more general information so we can find out not just what is happening, but why. Following this we will do an examination to determine what structures are being compromised, and once we have ascertained the cause we will begin treatment. Due to the need for the needles to penetrate the skin, patients are required to wear appropriate clothing. This might just mean removing your t-shirt, or dressing down to your bra if you're a woman. If however we need to work on the lower back or glutes, then patients should be prepared to dress down to their underwear, where we will then cover you up with towels and then lower certain parts of the underwear so that the skin is accessible. All staff have been professionally trained in towel technique so that a patient's modesty is kept at all times and is never made to feel uncomfortable. If at any point you would like to try another technique instead of dry needling, we are more than happy to do this for you.
Does dry needling hurt?
Each and every one of us is very different, and this means our tolerance of discomfort is different too. The majority of patients do not find dry needling painful, but it can also depend on the amount of muscular tension you are holding.
If you look closely at the picture above, you can see a little plastic cover that surrounds the needle. Whilst this might just look like a protective cover for the needle, it is far cleverer than that. When the plastic area surrounding the needle is placed firmly on the skin, it draws the brains attention to this sense of touch, but not the area next to it. By quickly and firmly pressing the needle down within this circle, the brain is unable to detect the needle and is able to penetrate the skin without the patient experiencing any of the pain that would usually be expected.
What does dry needling treat?
Dry needling can be used to treat a wide number of ailments, however some of the most common complaints we use dry needling to treat are; wry neck, neck and shoulder pain, lower back pain, sciatica, shin splints, plantar fasciitis and general muscle tightness.
Want to find out more?
If you would like to find out more, or are ready to book an appointment, then all you have to do is click on the button below, or feel free to call us on 0208 088 0533 and we'd be happy to discuss things further.