Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What is Dry Needling?

What is dry needling?
One treatment option I perform with many of my patients is dry needling. Dry needling uses the same thin steel filament needles that are commonly associated with acupuncture. There is somelayover between acupuncture and dry needling, but the technique and mechanism of action are quite different. Acupuncture has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. In short, acupuncture deals with the insertion of needles at points throughout the body that follow paths “meridians” that help to stimulate the flow of energy throughout the body. Dry needling on the other hand has only been aroundsince the late 1970’s and is designed to get rid of those irritating knots/trigger points throughout the body.  
Why do we get these knots in the first place?
A teacher of mine used to say that these trigger points are a good thing in a poorly functioning system. The reason our body creates trigger points is to stabilize the nearby joints and to avoid further injury. When the deep muscles of the spine aren’t engaged they don’t stabilize the spine properly and our superficial muscles will compensate by recruiting extra stability in the form of knots.
So dry needling will help to clear the knots?
Yes. In my experience the best way to treat and eliminate these painful trigger points Is through dry needling followed by rehabilitative exercise for long term results. Whenever I am inserting a needle my goal is to elicit what is known as a local twitch response. I tell my patients that this is when I know the needle has inserted into the muscle successfully. 
How does dry needling work?
Dry needling has several proposed mechanisms of action. Neurologically, inserting the needle sends new information to the brain to help disrupt the “poor information” it was getting before that likely caused the issue. It also manipulates the fascia and improves the amount of blood flow to the targeted areawhich speeds up tissue healingIn layman’s terms, I tell my patients that when I get a muscle to elicit a twitch response, it’s like the muscle is finally “letting go” due to the manipulation of the needle. 
Does it hurt to get needled?
Not from my experience in getting needled or performing the needling. Once in awhile one of the twitch responses may surprise my patients, but hardly ever do patients complain of dry needling causing them pain. If they do have a slight pain it’s usually described as it “hurts so good.” The needles are composed of such a thin filament that most of the time they have no idea when I’m even inserting the needle. 
Is dry needling for you?
Do you have pain? Do you have knots on the inside of your shoulder blades, low back, neck, etc? Do you suffer from headaches or TMD? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then yes dry needling may be for you. If you are finally ready to get rid of these irritating knots in your body and improve the way you feel and function give us a call today at 217-525-2035 and ask for Dr. Cody to solve this issue once and for all!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Why Do We Pop?

Have you ever wondered why our joints pop? I tell patients that our joints have a certain allowed range of motion and when we take the joint past this barrier (into what is known as the paraphysiological space), often a pop or crack will be heard. What happens when the joint enters this new range of motion is it gaps the adjacent bones for a split-second and a nitrogen gas is released. The release of this gas is producing the audible you hear. Typically, my patients come in and are looking “to get popped”. However, whether or not a joint “pops” does not necessarily indicate that the adjustment “worked.”
When I perform an adjustment, it is always directed into the joint(s) that are restricted in motion. However, one person’s joint restriction may feel totally different than another’s. Said another way, some people’s joints have greater allowed motion than others. As we age, our spines have a greater likelihood to begin to degenerate. Often our intervertebral disc height decreases, ligaments calcify, and bones begin to take on different shapes. These changes are commonly referred to as the “wear and tear” of our body. Wear and tear makes our joints “tighter” thus creating less of a potential gapping or “pop” to occur. Also, after several treatments in the office, and followed at home recommendations, I usually notice less of a popping noise because the adjustment is holding better and longer than it previously was. 
So don’t become a crack addict! 
Did you know cracking your own spine may be creating MORE of a problem for you? “But Doc it always feels good when I pop my own neck!?” Yeah, you may be getting a brief feeling of euphoria, but it is usually accompanied with creating further dysfunction in your spine in the long run. There’s a reason it continues to feel the way it does even after your self-adjustments…When you can crack your own spine, often you are popping joints that are already moving well! This can create further dysfunction in the joints that were previously restricted and may lead to an increased likelihood of pain and injury! For example, usually disc injuries are due to excessive movement and a lack of stability! 

As a rule of thumb, I tell patients to avoid popping their own necks and low back. The upper/mid back or thoracic spine is usually okay in my opinion to foam roll or create some popping with. If you have been popping your own body for some time and are still in pain, or if you want to avoid a future of dysfunction that leads to pain, feel free to give us a call and schedule your first appointment at               217-525-2035! 

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