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I'm a trained medical acupuncturist and have a special interest in treating chronic pain conditions caused by trigger points.A trigger point is an area in the muscle where the cells contract and form a tender nodule. Dry needling
is placing a thin acupuncture needle right into the middle of the muscle nodule that has formed.
The needle there causes a reaction in the muscle cells to first grip, then release, causing relaxation of the nodule and a decrease in the spasm and therefore in the pain.
There is actually quite a bit of evidence of effectiveness on this despite acupuncture being hard to design Western style research studies with.
Acupuncture is one of the modalities that is recommended for the management of chronic pain conditions.
For more intense stimulation, we can also apply electrostimulation by attaching clips to the end of the needles at low intensity.
Research shows also that people can be grouped into "responders" and "non-responders". We don't understand why that is. It's hard to use Western research techniques to study a treatment modality that is a completely different paradigm.
I hope this information has been helpful. Let me know if I can clarify anything.
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Thank you for your answer. I believe however that dry needling trigger points is completely different from acupuncture? and I think there was numerous studies done on it in recent years, unlike acupuncture being 3 to 5 thousand years old dry needling seems quite modern. I'd love to know how to find the points, especially from palpating, have you any recommendations on this also? Thank you
Medical acupuncturists consider what they do basically dry needling but yes there are probably some differences. Trigger points can be found usually in the center of a tender muscle body. If there is a particular place on the body you're interested, I can describe how to find a trigger point there.
Actually I just looked it up and it does seem like the definition of dry needling include acupuncture needling. Dry needling also allows for hollow core needles which are not used in acupuncture.
And yes, dry needling dispenses with the other aspects of acupuncture that are involved with choosing points. But many of us medical acupuncturists are basically most interested in treating chronic pain with dry needling.
Probably the most common trigger point that easy to find is one the top of the shoulder in the upper trapezius belly.
People can have them also quite commonly around the shoulder blades, all up and down the back and in the rectus muscle.
Lateral aspects of the upper thighs is common.
Any other questions?
Im very interested in it for the treatment of sciatica?
Yes, that would involve placed needles in the low back, buttocks , I usually use a drain point in the feet making a nod to acupuncture. Hook up 4 clips for electrostimulation.
Along with a stretching program.
You'd want to locate a chronic pain specialist. Here is the link to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncturists:
Any doctor who trained in this program and is certified will be familiar with this form of treatment.
And because it would be done by an MD, it would be more likely to be covered on your insurance.
For sciatica, it may also be helpful to have pelvic floor work.
Anything else I can help with today?
I saw you were trying to rate my service but the rating feature hadn't been turned on yet. I was waiting until we finished. It's on now. Let me know if I can clarify anything else. Good luck with your sciatica. I hope you get some relief with the needling.