Trigger Point Dry Needling Acupuncture
Trigger Point Dry Needling (also called Functional Dry Needling) refers to a therapeutic treatment that involves the use of an acupuncture needle inserted into a localized area of muscle tension. The treatment principle is based on the way in which specific muscle bands can shorten and produce pain. If left untreated, shortened muscles can become locked into an inflammatory state which is then experienced as localized or radiating pain. Muscle fibers typically contains a sensitive node in the belly of the muscle called a Trigger Point.
When Dry Needling is performed nothing is injected into the body and the needle used is single use, sterile and hair-thin. Most patients will not feel the needle penetrate the skin, but there may be a small bit of discomfort when the trigger point is activated. If the muscle is currently in spasm and has an active trigger point, the patient may feel a sensation like a muscle cramp of twitch – this is called the “twitch response”. Although the twitch response is part of the desired result when dry needling, studies have shown that the amount of twitch response does not necessarily relate to the effectiveness of a treatment.
Typically, lasting results are seen within 2-4 treatments but the number of sessions needed varies depending on the cause and history of the symptoms and the overall health conditions. Dry needling is a quick and effective effective treatment for acute and for more chronic pain conditions. It can also be used following an injury or post-surgery. This technique has few side effects and is preferred as a means to find and eliminate neuromuscular problems that may lead to pain and degeneration.
At Meridian Health Clinic in Santa Monica, we use Trigger Point Dry Needling to give our patients fast results. Many times the results from Dry Needling are more dramatic than from traditional acupuncture treatment.
We are aware that there are very few practitioners in California trained in Dry Needling, therefore clinic director Eric Schmidt, LAc has plans to start teaching classes on Dry Needling in late 2017. You may also want to read our Dry Needling FAQ for more information.
An Introduction to Dry Needling – Video by Eric Schmidt, LAc:
Get started with a dry needling session today:
Below is a summary of the difference in training between a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and other healthcare providers seeking to add Dry Needling to their scope of practice:
• Physical therapists (PTs) performing “dry needling” have NO MINIMUM TRAINING. It is currently legal for PTs to perform dry needling in states including: Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina. Often PTs will perform dry needling with as little as 30 hours of training.
• Chiropractors take 200 hours of required acupuncture-specific training to perform dry needling.
• Medical doctors need 300 hours of acupuncture-specific training, as required by the American Board of Medical Acupuncturists.
• California Licensed Acupuncturists (LAc) have at least 3,000 hours of acupuncture-specific training, a 3 Year Professional Masters Degree.