While this at first glance these modalities look strikingly similar, where small thin needles are inserted into various points in the body, considerable differences exist between the three.
Neurofunctional (Medical) Acupuncture, your practitioner (physician,physiotherapist, chiropractor etc.) treats you only after a conventional medical/neuro-functional diagnosis has been made, following a conventional (scientific) view. The practitioner will use acupuncture as a treatment modality along with other therapeutic approaches, as needed.
Traditional Acupuncture theory and the traditional Chinese approach following a diagnosis in terms of complex theories regarding disturbance in the body’s balance, characterized by excess or deficiency with respect to what are considered the five elements, water, fire, earth, metal and wood, that needs to be corrected with needles.
Trigger Point Dry Needling directly treats the neuromuscular system, using the same filament style needles, affecting muscle tightness, joint mobility, and symptoms of pain and irritation. By adequately release of the muscle, the tissues are allowed to assume normal function with improved neurological conduction and blood flow.
Neurofunctional Medical Acupuncture is also know as Contemporary Acupuncture takes an ancient therapy and re-defines its mechanisms and effects using present-day scientific understanding of human physiology. While this at first glance may look strikingly similar to traditional Chinese acupuncture, Small thin needles are inserted into various points in the body, including hands, feet and scalp, and left in place for a period of time before removal. However,
considerable differences exist between Contemporary Acupuncture theory and the traditional Chinese approach. In
contemporary acupuncture, your practitioner (physician, physiotherapist, chiropractor etc.) treats you only after a conventional medical/neuro-functional diagnosis has been made. The practitioner will use acupuncture as a treatment modality along with other therapeutic approaches, as needed.
The contemporary acupuncture practitioner applies treatment following a conventional (scientific) view and regards the acupuncture as having certain local tissue effects as well as providing segmental analgesia, extra-segmental analgesia, as well as central regulatory effects on the nervous system. In contrast, a traditional Chinese acupuncturist makes a diagnosis in terms of complex theories regarding disturbance in the body’s balance that needs to be corrected with needles. These imbalances will often be characterized by excess or deficiency with respect to what are considered the five elements, water, fire, earth, metal and wood. Traditional Chinese acupuncturists subscribe to the theory that certain points in the body are characterized by each of the five elements.
What is Trigger Point Dry Needling?
Trigger point dry needling (TDN) is a treatment technique which
uses fine, filament-type needles to release tight muscles with
the goal of permanently reducing muscle pain and dysfunction.
Utilizing trigger point dry needing allows a faster return to
How Does Trigger Point Dry Needling Work?
Dry needling works to deactivate trigger points in the muscle,
desensitize associated structures, and restore function by:
– Decreasing spontaneous electrical activity
– Releasing muscle shortening
– Removing the source of irritation
– Promoting healing
How Do Myofascial Trigger Points Develop?
Trigger points develop in the muscle as a result of various stresses, suchas: postural, repetitive motion, hormones, psychological, and/or emotional stresses. Trigger points are more likely to develop in tissue whose associated nerves are compromised by factors such as mechanical compression of the nerve, disc dysfunction, facet joint dysfunction, vascular compression, metabolic stress, biomechanical stress, postural stress, etc.
Why Do We Want to Deactivate Trigger Points?
When muscles develop trigger points, they remain tight, causing the compression of blood vessels, nerves and joint structures in that area. This can affect the normal function of that tissue, and possibly even affect other tissues that the involved nerve communicates with.
What Does It Feel Like?
People experiencediffering sensations with TDN. Most people only feel minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted. Patients often feel a significant cramping sensation from the twitch response, but then feel an immediate improvement in their symptoms.
Is There Research to Support the Use of TDN?
Research has shown that there is increased spontaneous electrical activity at the site of an active trigger point. This electrical activity is kind of like “buzzing”, which causes the nerve-muscle connection to trigger the muscle to be tight. Dry needling has been shown to decrease or completely eliminate this spontaneous electrical activity by eliciting a twitch response in the muscle, which “resets” its electrical conduction system.
In addition, new research has reported that dry needling can also reduce levels of inflammatory and pain-producing chemicals that are found at an active trigger point, ultimately reducing pain and dysfunction of the muscle, as well of the nerves and joints in its vicinity. This release can immediately improve range of motion, decrease pain and improve function.
How is TDN Different from Acupuncture?
TDN is a treatment that uses acupuncture needles, but that is where the similarity to acupuncture ends.
Acupuncture is a more superficial treatment that is based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine focusof restoring energy or “Qi” to the body. It is thought that there are blockages that can be opened by properly placing needles along energy channels called meridians.
Trigger Point Dry Needling directly treats the neuromuscular system affecting muscle tightness, joint mobility, and symptoms of pain and irritation. It is thought that if you adequately release the muscle, the tissues are then allowed to assume normal function with improved neurological conduction and blood flow.
Is There Any Special Advice to Follow After a TDN Treatment?
– Stay hydrated: drink lots of water
– Light physical activity only for the rest of the day (stretching is great!)
– Ice or heat may be applied following a treatment for patient comfort
– Muscle soreness is common and can be expected for 1-2 days following needling (it may feel like your muscles have done a workout)
– Contact your health care practitioner if you have any questions or concerns
Traditional Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a form of health care that originated over 2500 years ago in China. TCM encompasses herbal medicine, acupuncture, dietary therapy and exercise in order to improve health and treat disease.
Acupuncture, a component of TCM, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific parts of the body in order to influence energy, blood flow, immune response and pain.
Here at Integrate, acupuncture and TCM are most often used to treat:
Headaches and migraines
Musculoskeletal pain - strains and repetitive strain disorders, tendinopathies, tight muscles)
Digestive disorders (irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic constipation/diarrhea)