Dry needling and cupping therapy

Dry Needling Procedure consists of a solid microfilament needle that is inserted through the skin and into the symptomatic soft tissue. The proposed mechanism of action for dry needling is it creates a micro therapeutic lesion within the symptomatic and surrounding tissues releasing the tension in the shortened tissues, and promotes an increase in the circulation to the symptomatic tissue. This mechanical and neuromuscular effect provides an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal which ultimately reduces pain.

Dry needling is a highly effective form of chiropractic treatment of a multitude of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. It is not appropriate for all conditions or pathologies and the use of the technique will be at the discretion of your chiropractor.

Documentation will include daily SOAP notes and a body diagram indicating the needling placement. Only sterile disposable needles are used and are disposed of in the red sharps containers. Sharps will be disposed of accordance with state guidelines. The practitioner is required to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after performing dry needling. The facility follows OSHA Blood Borne Pathogens standard 116 (osha.gov).

Policy: To perform Dry Needling all Chiropractors must attend a hands-on continuing education seminar. This course must consist of a minimum of 55 hours to be considered competent in this field of practice. The patient or parent/guardian, prior to performing dry needling, must sign the informed consent form.

Commonly asked questions:

How does it work?

Integrative dry needling is not acupuncture (traditional Chinese medicine), it is based on neuro anatomy and modern scientific study of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. A very fine filament needle is inserted through the skin and into the deeper tissues that are considered trigger points to your pain. Dry needling works by causing a therapeutic micro lesion within the pathological tissue thus breaking up shortened tissues, inhibiting a reflex arc from the nervous system to the tissue, normalizing the inflammatory response, and centrally mediating the pain. This mechanical and neuromuscular effect provides an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal which ultimately reduces pain.

What conditions can be treated?

Conditions include but are not limited to neck, back, shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headache to include tension-type headaches, jaw pain (TMJ), buttock pain and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness, spasms, plantar fasciitis).

Are the needles sterile?

Yes, we only use sterile disposable needles.

Is the procedure painful?

The fine filament needle is very thin, solid, and flexible, which allows for the needle to be pushed through the skin versus cutting the skin. This helps reduce any discomfort that may occur with the procedure. We strive to make the treatment virtually painless however at times a local twitch response of the muscle may be felt. When the needle is inserted into the pathological tissue the local twitch response sensation is normal and is felt only momentarily. Many patients describe this twitch response as a little electric shock, cramp, or an ache sensation. These sensations are perfectly normal and even a desirable response. Your chiropractor will make every effort to make your experience comfortable and therapeutic.

How will I feel after the dry needling?

This will vary but many patients experience immediate relief of their symptoms and an increase in range of motion. Soreness can also be a common response from the needling but does not occur with all people. Some individuals may experience an immediate achiness or a delayed soreness the next day. The soreness, if present, will usually last 1-2 days, use of heat and light massage and movement will be beneficial. Mild bruising may occur at the needling sites and is more prevalent in certain parts of the body. Larger bruising may also occur, but is rare. Application of ice on the bruise will help with the soreness and the skin discoloration will last several days but is not harmful.

It is uncommon but possible that the treatment may temporarily increase your symptoms. This is not unusual but if this continues past the 1-2 day window, inform your chiropractor to allow adjustment of your program to enhance your comfort the next time. This does not mean that needling will not be beneficial to your condition.

Will I continue to do exercises or receive other treatments?

Yes, your personalized chiropractic program will still integrate traditional chiropractic methods including manual therapy, manipulations, therapeutic exercises, muscle stimulation, and stretching along with other therapies.

How many treatments will I need?

This will depend on the category you fit in, which is determined by the state and length of time of the injury and your overall health. Remember we are attempting to cause mechanical and biomechanical changes without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to break the pain cycle. Your chiropractor will be able to give you more insight after your evaluation.

What should I do to prepare for the treatment?

Do not eat 30 min before the treatment

Be well hydrated but empty your bladder prior to treatment

Wear lose fitting clothing, shorts, or bathing suit for easy access to your painful areas

What should/can I do after treatment, what should I avoid?

Our recommendations vary depending on the amount of soreness you have and on the individual response to the treatment. Recommendations may include increasing your water intake, applying heat or ice over the area, gentle stretches and modifications of activities.

Is dry needling treatment covered by my insurance?

This is chiropractic treatment and is NOT acupuncture therefore your coverage of dry needling should correspond with your chiropractic benefits. Most medical insurances do cover the service, but if it does not or you do not have medical insurance we will be more than happy to offer an affordable out of pocket plan. You can discuss this further with our administrative staff if you require more information.

Not all chiropractors or physical therapist professionals are trained to perform the Integrative Dry Needling treatment technique. Dr. Melissa Arceneaux-Myers at Chiropractic Total Wellness Center has advanced training and has been certified through the Integrative Dry Needling Institute.

Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which a physician puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. 

What does cupping therapy do?  It is the stagnation of blood that causes pain and disease. Cupping invigorates local circulation of blood and taught tissue/muscle spasms in the area being treated, resolving swelling, pain, and tension. By drawing impurities to the surface, it removes toxins. Cupping loosens connective tissue or fascia and stimulated blood flow to the surface. Cupping stimulates tissue relaxation and better cell-to-cell communication. 

There are different kinds of cupping therapy techniques:  The sliding cups technique is traditionally performed on large muscle groups to treat pain and muscle spasms. Massage oil/lotion is applied to the skin prior to the cups being placed, which allows the cups to glide easily over the surface of the skin.  What are the benefits of cupping?  The benefits of cupping include local pain relief and muscle relaxation. Cupping improves overall health by removing the energy blockages that practitioners identify as barriers to the flow of healthy energy and to decrease muscle spasms.  For athletes, cupping may help increase blood flow to a particular muscle region or help reduce pain. Numerous athletes from the Olympics in Rio 2016 used cupping. This was easily seen by circular markings on some of the U.S. swim team members such as Michael Phelps.  With air cupping, a handheld suction pump is used to remove air from the cups, creating the vacuum without heat.  What does it feel like and what are side effects?  Cupping frequently causes marks on the skin. This is due to bringing blood to the surface, similar to a bruise. For patients with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia or who are being treated with anticoagulants, cupping may not be the best treatment option. People with these conditions should discuss the pros and cons of treatment with their doctor before receiving cupping. Cupping should not be performed on skin sites with active inflammation, burns, infection, or open wounds. Some discomfort can occur but should not be considered a side effect. Moderate, temporary discomfort is expected as stagnation is removed and connective tissue and muscles are loosened. Patients often describe the sensation as a pulling or similar to having a massage.  If bruising occurs from cupping, it can last for a few days up to a few weeks. It is expected that over several weeks of repeated cupping treatments the bruising will decrease as the stagnation resolves. This indicates a successful result of a cupping treatment protocol.


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