Dry Needling: Explained

Dry Needling: Explained

Trigger Point Dry Needling and Acupuncture can seem to refer to the exact same practice. An outside observer sees the insertion of thin needles in a sterile but tranquil environment and assumes the results, methods, and treatments are the same.


This, however, is not true. Trigger point dry needling (aka: TDN) is actually quite different from the traditional practice of acupuncture. Although it is true that both practices use essentially the same tools — both TDN and acupuncture use very small, thin needles — they aim to treat different ailments in different ways.


Let’s remove some of the mystery associated with the relationship between Trigger point dry needling and acupuncture by explaining the differences between the two practices.




Trigger Point Dry Needling is a method used to treat pain resulting from neuromuscular skeletal conditions. Acupuncture can also be used to fight chronic pain (along with other ailments) but the issues addressed are different. Acupuncture aims to align the meridians of the body, while dry needling addresses trigger points. These trigger points are associated with specific points of pain within the muscular system. Needles are inserted into these trigger points, essentially releasing them and easing the pain that previously emanated from them.


Learn more about Trigger Point Needling in Nashville, TN today!




The origins of acupuncture and dry needling happened quite a long time away from each other. Acupuncture is dated back to ancient China over 4,000 years ago. Dry needling, however, dates back to the 1940’s and was coined by Dr. Janet Travell in the United States. She and Dr. David G. Simon identified most of the trigger points located throughout the human body. This is considered to be the first generation of the practice.


The second generation came in the 1970’s through the work of Dr. C. Gunn. He developed a treatment for myofascial pain called Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS). This work didn’t directly reference the first generation of dry needling, but the combination of these two fields of work are what informs the current practice.


This practice is continuing to evolve as we learn more about how trigger points affect our bodies and more research is conducted. Aspects of dry needling are being incorporated into other forms of physical therapy. Innovations are improving the results seen through TDN and expanding upon its current use.


Methods of Treatment


Insertion of thin needles might look similar when comparing dry needling to acupuncture, but the actual practice has some differences. First of all, acupuncture is generally performed by strategically placing needles along specific points in the body at a fairly shallow depth.


Dry needling is also performed with strategic placement, although as we said earlier the aim is to address trigger points and not meridians. The needles are also placed a little deeper for dry needling than they are for acupuncture and for shorter periods of time.


The depth at which the needles are placed depends on the specific trigger points and muscles that are to be addressed.


Uses for Trigger Point Needling


The application of needles to target specific trigger points can have a wide range of benefits for the patient. Although, it should be noted that trigger point dry needling is but one part of a larger physical therapy treatment plan to address a particular issue. A consultation with a trained acupuncturist will help put together a plan to treat the issue.


Trigger point dry needling can be used to treat a wide range of conditions such as repetitive stress injuries, neck pain, headaches, muscle tendonitis, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, muscle strains, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff impingement, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction.


What to Expect from Dry Needling?


Patients seeking dry needling can do a little preparation beforehand to help the treatment along. First, patients should eat a light meal between one and two hours before the appointment. Wear loose and comfortable clothing that can be rolled up if necessary to reach certain parts of the body.


The depth of the needles isn’t generally a concern for many patients. However, there is a possibility that the patient will feel the insertion of the needle. The goal is to elicit a local twitch response in the muscle which can occasionally result in brief pain that feels similar to a deep ache. However, these responses are generally very short.


It’s common to see benefits very soon after treatment. Depending on the issue being addressed, patients see improvements in range of motion and a decrease in previous symptoms. There can occasionally be bruising around the treated area as well as some soreness that clears up anywhere between a few hours a couple days after treatment.




Contact Affinity Acupuncture for dry needling treatment in Nashville!


Acupuncture for Neck Pain Relief

Acupuncture for Neck Pain Relief

There are a variety of reasons for someone to seek acupuncture. Some use it to address general anxiety they experience throughout the day. Others use it to address fertility issues. And still more people use it to diminish various types of physical pain.

Neck pain can be a debilitating factor in someone’s life. We don’t realize how often we turn our heads until it hurts to do so. This leads people suffering from neck pain to make costly doctor’s visits, take a continuous stream of painkillers, or any other means of finding relief from the pain.

And an increasingly popular means of doing so is to seek out acupuncture for neck pain.

But how does acupuncture address neck pain? Does it actually work? And where can I find acupuncture for neck pain near me?

How Does It Work?

Acupuncture involves strategic placement of very tiny needles into specific points in the skin. This process is done after a consultation with the acupuncturist. Your acupuncturist will ask you many questions regarding the reasons for your visit as well as your lifestyle habits. These two considerations might seem like they don’t have any relationship with each other, but they do.

Our diet and activities directly influence the way our body feels and grows as well as its ability to fight off infections. Inflammation is a result of your body trying to fight off a negative issue. However, this inflammatory response can occasionally end up doing more harm than good.

Acupuncture helps to open the pathways within the body to direct its natural energy in an advantageous way. It can reduce inflammation, which provides relief from stress that has built up within the body.

The consultation alerts the acupuncturist to the underlying issues, and the specific needle placement addresses these issues.

Visit Affinity Acupuncture to learn more about acupuncture for neck pain in Nashville!

How Effective Is It?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years. The practice spread to western societies in the 20th century and has since been studied on multiple occasions. The findings of these studies are almost always the same—they find positive benefits from acupuncture for the treatment of various types of pain, but they can’t explain exactly why it works.

There are theories outside of the traditional Chinese explanations of proper flow of qi through the body’s meridians. Many involve endorphins and stimulation of the body’s natural immune system.

But the reasons acupuncture is so effective for neck pain don’t really matter to the person seeking relief. Those people only see the positive benefits and relief from chronic pain as a result of their acupuncture treatments.

The best metric of the effectiveness of acupuncture for neck pain is simply to try it yourself and see how you feel. Every person will experience any form of medicine differently, which will affect their ultimate benefits from the treatment.

How Do You Know If Acupuncture Is Right for You?

Acupuncture is perfect for anybody that can use its services. And the fact that acupuncture treats such a large amount of different conditions means it can be beneficial to just about everybody.

Neck pain can severely impact a person’s quality of life. It can be annoying and a severe detriment to your daily activities at first. But it can become a serious issue if the pain doesn’t go away.

Many patients are finding that multiple trips to the doctor or the chiropractor don’t offer sufficient relief. And the idea of using painkillers for an indefinite period of time isn’t attractive. Not only can it get expensive, it can take a toll on the body.

The bottom line is that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying acupuncture. There are no major risks to the practice. Many people are learning of the pain treatment potential of acupuncture every day. So if you’re in need of relief from neck pain and traditional western medicine doesn’t seem to be helping, it’s time to seek out acupuncture for neck pain.

Where Can I Find Acupuncture for Neck Pain Near Me?

Those in the Nashville area can visit Affinity Acupuncture for neck pain treatment. In fact, visitors will find a wide variety of potentially helpful treatments from nutrition counseling to other forms of traditional Chinese medicine.

It is our goal to help people in Nashville, Franklin, and anywhere else around middle Tennessee to find natural and effective treatments to make their lives more comfortable. We’ve been providing these services for years and are excited to show you the healing potential of these traditional, natural remedies.

Contact Affinity Acupuncture to make an appointment today!

Acupuncture: Natural Back Pain Treatment

Acupuncture: Natural Back Pain Treatment

Lower back pain affects just about everybody at some point in their life. Maybe you spent the weekend doing yard work and now it’s difficult to tie your shoes. Or perhaps you have chronic issues that have been following you for a while. Whatever the case, lower back pain can be a great hindrance in not only performing daily tasks, but being able to enjoy yourself.

There’s a growing backlash against pain medication. There has been an unfortunate tendency for doctors to overprescribe these medications, which can lead to addiction and other negative consequences.

So what is a person to do if they want to find relief from pain while also avoiding costly and dangerous medications? They start looking for a natural means of alleviating this pain.

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years as a back pain treatment. However, there are still people that dismiss the practice as ineffective without actually looking into the research or trying it themselves.

The Research

The largest scientific study involving acupuncture’s efficacy in back pain treatment was performed in 2007. It used data from 1,162 patients with ages ranging from 18 to 86 years old. These patients all suffered from chronic lower back pain. The average length of their back pain was eight years.

The patients were split into three groups. The first received acupuncture in an attempt to treat their lower back pain. The second received what they called “sham acupuncture,” which is the insertion of needles but without strategic placement. The third group received conventional treatments for the back pain which included medication, physical therapy, and exercise.

The results were collected after six months of treatment. They were recorded using interviews with the patients in order to determine their pain levels. Both the Von Korff Chronic Pain Grade Scale questionnaire and the back-specific Hanover Functional Ability Questionnaire were used to compile the data

The results of the study were pretty surprising to anybody that didn’t have previous knowledge of acupuncture. 

47.6% improvement in pain was reported by the patients that received acupuncture. This is quite an achievement when compared to the 27.4% improvement for those who received conventional therapies.

The “sham acupuncture” group, however, reported a 44.2% improvement in pain which has caused some to muddy the waters of success for acupuncture. There are a variety of theories as to why this would happen, including the placebo effect as well as the difficulty in truly creating a neutral version of acupuncture.

But when you compare this singular study against the 2,500 year history of using acupuncture as a back pain treatment, it’s easy to see there’s more to the practice than a simple placebo effect.

Visit Affinity Acupuncture for back pain treatment in the Nashville, TN area today!

How It Works

Traditional Chinese medicine bases acupuncture around the idea of energy within your body. This energy needs to be balanced. 

Acupuncture is performed through the strategic insertion of needles into specific points in the body. These points are connected through a series of pathways — called meridians — which creates the open flow of energy. 

The insertion of these needles helps to stimulate these points. This stimulation opens the pathways and creates the balanced flow of energy along the body’s meridians.

This improved flow of energy helps the body to fight off sickness and pain.

Scientific studies are difficult to perform on the practice so those in the medical community aren’t able to definitively state why acupuncture works. However, many doctors recommend their patients use acupuncture to treat their pain. So even if they can’t specifically state why acupuncture works, it is widely touted for its ability to treat back pain.

Those in the medical community do have their theories, though. Some think acupuncture needles stimulate the central nervous system which releases chemicals to the brain, blood, and muscles. Others think it increases the speed of electromagnetic signals in the body which increases the flow of endorphins.

But despite their varying theories as to why it works, it’s widely accepted that acupuncture is a legitimate method for back pain treatment. 

Seeking Back Pain Treatment in Nashville

Those seeking back pain treatment in the Nashville area can visit Affinity Acupuncture for natural pain relief. We aim to help the Nashville and surrounding communities by offering individualized care through traditional Chinese methods that have been used for thousands of years. We offer acupuncture for back pain treatment as well as many other conditions. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture as treatment for neck pain, depression, headaches, sciatica, and more.

Contact Affinity acupuncture to learn more about their back pain treatment options in Nashville, TN today!