Acupuncture, an ‘Eastern’ modality, involves inserting very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is typically used to treat pain. More and more, people are using it to improve wellness, and to manage stress. It can also help with headaches, difficulty sleeping, and allergies, among other conditions.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the body’s energy flow — known as Qi — believed to move through pathways in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these pathways (also called meridians), acupuncture practitioners believe that the body’s free flow of energy will be restored.
This is a useful ‘Western’ treatment for acute and chronic muscle pain, and neuromuscular dysfunction. It works by using a sterile needle the thickness of a hair to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying knots. These knots (also called trigger points) can be a source of local and referred pain, headaches and other symptoms. Dry needling is based on a medical theory and while it can be uncomfortable, it is a useful technique to relieve symptoms up to a few days or a week.
If you take advantage of the relief that acupuncture and/or dry needling can provide you in the short term by exercising, this increased strength and mobility will reduce pain over the long term.