What is Dry Needling and what is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture? 

 

WHAT IS DRY NEEDLING?

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Dry Needling is a treatment technique where thin filiform needles are inserted through the skin into pathological areas of the muscle known as "trigger points" for the purpose of relieving myofascial pain and muscle spasm. These are the same needles used in traditional acupuncture therapy, they are solid rather than hollow, and no medication is injected.

Dry needling is used in conjunction with other manual therapy techniques and therapeutic exercise.

When performing dry needling, there may be a "twitch response" where the specific band of muscle involuntarily contracts in response to insertion of the needle.  Beneficial effects can occur without elicitation of the twitch response.  Sometimes electrotherapy is also applied with the trigger point needling technique, this is referred to as electroacupuncture. If electroacupuncture is considered appropriate, small clips are attached to specific needling locations and a mild electrical current is applied. Electrical muscle stimulation aids in stimulating blood flow, reducing pain and relieving muscular spasm. 

In the State of California, the only providers who can legally perform these types of needling techniques are licensed acupuncturists and medical doctors. A licensed acupuncturist's education and training in needling techniques requires a Master's degree obtained after 3 years of education and training. 

Compared to Dry Needling, Acupuncture, when applied as a form of traditional Chinese medicine, uses acupuncture points on the surface of the body that are located along "meridians" that correspond with the internal organs and the energies associated with those organs. Traditional acupuncture techniques aim to relieve congestion of energy and blood, thereby restoring circulation and reducing symptoms associated with said qi (energy) stagnation. 

Graston Technique Enhances Chiropractic and Acupuncture Treatment Newport Beach

Graston Technique

Graston Technique is successful in effectively treating all soft tissue conditions, whether they are chronic, acute and even post surgical. The Graston Technique offers many advantages to the patient such as:

  • Decreases overall time of treatment
  • Fosters faster rehabilitation/recovery
  • Reduces need for anti-inflammatory medication
  • Resolves chronic conditions thought to be permanent

Changing the way soft tissue injuries are treated

Graston Technique is an innovative, patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions. The technique utilizes specially designed stainless steel instruments to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation.

Originally developed by athletes, Graston Technique is an interdisciplinary treatment used by more than 9,000 clinicians worldwide—including physical and occupational therapists, hand therapists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers.

GT is utilized at some 830 outpatient facilities and industrial on-sites, by more than 160 professional and amateur sports organizations, and is part of the curriculum at 38 respected colleges and universities.

 

Weekend Warriors: Are you a FOOSHER?..

We are instinctively drawn to escape the safety of the cubicle or corner office once the 5 o'clock hour rings in the weekend every Friday afternoon.  For some of us that means 2 days of rest and relaxation, while others crave a different type of escape.  Mountain biking, sky diving, hiking, running and the like.

I personally prefer the first option... But, for you adventurous types, here's some advise to keep you moving and out of my office on Monday, or worse, the emergency room.

Common mistake #1: FOOSHING  (What-ing?...)

FOOSH-ING.  Falling On Out-Stretched Hand.  This is a common cause of wrist fracture, ligament damage and all-around bummers.

The Solution:  Roll with it.  If you find yourself on the wrong end of your handlebars fight the instinct to put out your hands in order to break your fall.  Tuck and roll with it if possible.  Tuck your chin to your chest and use your hands instead to protect your head and neck.

Common Mistake #2: Achilles Tendon Tear



Kobe Bryant fans, don't follow in your idol's footsteps.  You may not have the means and the team to get you back in action as quickly as Mr. Bryant.

The Solution:  Warm up and stay hydrated! Throughout the day it is important to drink enough water and replace electrolytes as you sweat them out. Additionally, prior to playing a sport like basketball take a light jog and/or stretch out your calves and hamstrings before you play!

Common Mistake #3: Concussions

Making the mistake of not wearing proper head gear can not only be dangerous, but have long term irreversible consequences.  One severe concussion or multiple small concussions over time can lead to depression or dementia.

The Solution:   Protect your head! If you are biking or playing tackle football, wear a helmet.  During the winter months wear a helmet while snowboarding or skiing.  It could not only save you from a headache, but from becoming paralyzed or even death.

If you do succumb to a rolled ankle, shoulder ouchie or other minor injury we are here for you! Dr. Pierce doesn't just treat spines! With chiropractic care, acupuncture or both, your injuries can heal faster and with fewer long-term problems.  Providing chiropractic and acupuncture care for injuries ranging from headaches, sciatica, knee sprains and ankle sprains, TMJ dysfunction and more to the Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine and surrounding areas of Orange County.

2 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW to Improve Your Posture!

As is the case for most of us, maintaining good seated posture is a chore and requires diligent effort.  We begin our day with the best of intentions, however, as the hours wear on and the computer screen seems to drift farther away from our line of sight, the inevitable slouch takes hold.

Finally, when the day is done and we peel away from the work station, the effects of the day linger.
That dull ache at the back of your head, where your neck and base of your skull meet, and the nagging soreness in the middle of your back between the lower part of your shoulder blades.

And repeat the next day and the day after that.

The importance of good posture goes beyond aesthetics.  Improperly loaded joints wear quicker than properly aligned ones. This can lead to pain and injury.  Again, think of your car's alignment and the affects on your tires.

Here are a couple exercises you can perform RIGHT NOW to aid in the fight against gravity and the dreaded slouch!..........(CLICK THE LINK BELOW!)




First, think about your head position.  Are you jutting your chin forward like your "walking like and Egyption" (sorry if you don't get the song reference!).  If so, push your chin straight back until you feel a slight stretch at the back of your neck and a "double chin" feeling in the front.

Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
 Next, either seated or standing draw your attention to the area between your shoulder blades. Rotate your arms so that your palms are facing forward.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together and reach your fingertips toward the floor so that your shoulders aren't just going back, but pushing downward.  Don't just stick out your chest.

Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.



These simple exercises will help "wake up" your tired postural muscles and help you maintain better posture throughout the day if you make an effort to stop what you are doing and perform them at least 5 times throughout the day.  They wont fix everything, but it's a start!  For additional information, or to address pain that doesn't resolve quickly, consult with your Newport Beach Chiropractor, Dr. Tara Pierce.  If your chronic postural stress has gone on for very long, you may require some additional help!

Acupuncture and Chiropractic offer relief from back and neck pain, headaches and even stress management! Call our office today to set an appointment! TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT NOW  CLICK HERE!

You have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Now what??

If you have experienced pain, burning, tingling, numbness or weakness in your hand and fingers (specifically your thumb, pointer, middle and half of the ring finger), you may be suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition affecting the hand and fingers.  It is caused by compression of, or trauma to the median nerve.  The median nerve passes through the arm to the wrist, where is passes through the carpal tunnel and feeds into the hand and fingers (see the picture below).  Most often, injury to the median nerve is the result of long hours spent at the computer.  This overuse causes irritation, inflammation and compression of this important nerve.

So what can you do about it?

Ignoring the problem and continuing to work through it may cause additional, possibly irreversible damage.  Though sometimes necessary, surgery is a potentially dangerous and possibly ineffective option.  Steroid injections can help short term, but are painful and may lead you down the road to surgery (as doctors will often use this as a means to determine if carpal tunnel surgery is indicated).  Medications like NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen) can reduce inflammation and pain, but are really only a bandage and doesn't  tackle the root of the problem AND can be harmful to your organs with long term use.

So what's left?
(click the link below to read more and find out)
In most cases conservative care should be your first stop.  (don't forget to read the note at the end of this post)

Acupuncture and chiropractic can be a safe and effective option for carpal tunnel syndrome's painful and annoying symptoms.  Acupuncture can be helpful for carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy as well! Your chiropractor will also treat the muscles, tendons,  ligaments and joints of your wrist, forearm, arm, neck and shoulder to address the problem along the whole pathway of the median nerve.  Chiropractic adjustments, wrist and forearm exercises and stretches as well as postural exercises can also help improve the way your body functions, not only helping your pain disappear, but help you prevent it from coming back!  By treating soft tissue and freeing nerve entrapment, followed by exercises you perform on your own, you can get out of pain and stay that way!

**It is important to note that not every case can be managed with conservative care alone.  If you experience significant weakness in your hands or fingers, or notice that the muscles of your palm appear to be withering away, it is important that you consult a neurologist right away.  If Dr. Pierce observes any of these findings, she too will refer you out for further evaluation.