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Is dry needling safe during pregnancy?

Is dry needling safe during pregnancy?


Dry needling describes the use of solid filiform needles to treat pain and dysfunction caused by muscle, myofascial and neural problems. Traditional acupuncture is based on Chinese medicine in which the placement of needles depends on a body’s energy flow. Dry needling is a treatment modaliity which was developed from Japanese Meridian Therapy. After your assessment of anatomy and neurophysiology, your specialist will insert needles into specific parts of your body.

The main effects are:

  • to decreased muscle spasm and therefore decrease pain associated with this
  • increase bloodflow to the injured/affected area in order to promote and stimulate healing
  • modify your body’s pain response and the neurological effects associated with pain
  • increase joint mobility by decreasing associated muscle tightness.

The above musculoskeletal issues can occur in association with pregnancy where a change in posture, increased ligamentous laxity and decreased muscle strength all lead to increased pain and discomfort. For all of the issues above, dry needling is a safe and effective treatment.

Most practitioners would advise using dry needling with caution on pregnant patients, while avoiding certain areas such as the abdomen, upper lumbar and sacrum. Minor adverse complaints have been associated with acupuncture recent studies have found. Rather than severe adverse reactions in pregnant women.

In the first trimester, 4-5 pregnancies abort naturally. Acupuncture risks should be outlined clearly to the patient before treatment. Professionals should get written and verbal consent before start a dry needling treatment.

As it is obviously unethical to do a study on the effects of dry needling on a number of pregnant patients to see the effects such an intervention would have, we have to rely on anecdotal evidence and subjective reports. However, to date medical acupuncture and dry needling techniques are seen as extremely effective and considered safe for treating pregnancy related pain and dysfunction throughout all stages of pregnancy (Smith, 2002).

If you have been experiencing pregnancy related pain, contact us here today.

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