Dry Needling to Treat & Resolve Inflammation, Rashes, Itchiness, Pain, & Other Nasty Stuff
The following is one of the coolest rapid improvements I have seen secondary to dry needling, and that is saying something, because I see crazy stuff all the time. Not like people’s arms spontaneously detaching from their scapula...good stuff, like magical Rash Removal Fairies doing their job and removing rashes...
“3 weeks prior to the dry needling class, I had a routine endoscopy. As the lidocaine was put into my IV, the nurse anesthetist realized that the lidocaine was being injected directly into my medial elbow, instead of my venous system. After replacing the IV, I had my endoscopy and went home. For the next 10 days, my elbow had this stained color and was numb from there to my hand. It eventually went away and turned into a rash with hives, burning, and itching that was not controlled by medicine. Steroids did not help. Nothing I tried helped, and it continued to get worse. On the first day I attended the dry needling course, after having my face needled, within 15 minutes it stopped burning, itching, and the hives went away. By the third day of the course, my elbow was completely normal. Totally nuts!”
Thoughtful dry needling, especially when combined with joint manipulation, has the potency to quickly and effectively regulate the autonomic nervous system toward homeostasis, much more so than any other treatment physical therapists have at their disposal. By specifically targeting the autonomic nervous system to induce a sufficiently homeostatic environment, we unlock the awesome, innate healing abilities our mind and body possess. The problem is not that our mind and body cannot heal, it is that we are being inhibited from healing ourselves by numerous easily reversible factors, all stemming from chronic sympathetic autonomic nervous system hyperactivity.
So, how does needling the face achieve something pharmaceutical treatment completely fails at? Well, by creating an adequately homeostatic autonomic nervous system, which needling the face and upper cervical spine are great at doing, we allow the brain and body to properly communicate with each other, which is essential for mental and physical healing. Almost all pharmaceuticals work on a specific pathway, or pathways, focusing on specific symptoms. Notice I did not say causes. The reasons for this are legion. On the scientific side of things, we hardly know anything about most things that are going on in the body and brain. We simply do not have the technology to see everything that is going on at present, and we have not even come close to discovering all the different pathways, receptors, etc., that are currently discoverable. People think the quantum level is the smallest level, which may or may not be true, but we know we basically have zero ability to look at quantum processes in biological systems, at the moment, because we need things to be super cold to look at this stuff, like near absolute zero, minus 273.15 Celsius. If you hadn’t noticed, biology doesn’t work so well when atoms are near frozen solid.
We are finding new things about RNA inheritance, gut health affecting brain function, and so much more all the time. And that is just based on the studies that gain funding, which are typically offshoots of already discovered things, because looking at brand new things, or the same things in new, innovative ways, scares cowardly people and is not as consistently financially profitable. So many accepted courses of treatment for so many things make zero sense, if you actually use your brain and take the time to critically think about them. One problem is, so many widespread medical assumptions driving the basis of our system of sick-care are established secondary to a single paper published decades ago, which is wrong, or was flat out fraudulent to begin with.
Let me give you an obvious example. Ice is one of the worst things you can do to a joint to reduce swelling. For pain, ice typically works well. For swelling, ice makes zero scientific sense, as it amplifies sympathetic activity and muscle tightness, which is the primary, underlying reason the swelling is present in the first place. All ice does is temporarily slow down superficial arterial blood going to the injury site, and venous blood returning from the injury site. This is detrimental to all aspects of healing, while at the same time making the reason the swelling is there, worse. Ice increases muscle tightness, venous constriction, and vein valve disruption, allowing blockage, restriction, and backflow of blood. All things that inhibit healing. This is why ice helped reduce pain, but didn’t help resolve the other symptoms of the rash in the elbow in the picture above.
The trigeminal nerve ganglia in the face have considerable ability to produce and release calcitonin-gene-related-peptide (CGRP), a potent vasodilator. Remember, calcitonin-gene-related-peptide, like all substances in our body, is paradoxical. It is necessary in certain concentrations for certain periods of time, but if those levels are off, bad stuff happens. The trigeminal nerve is a primary component of the trigeminocervical complex. In the figure below, the black dot on the bottom labeled TCC, the trigeminocervical nucleus, is at C2, or so. The trigeminocervical nucleus, the caudal point of the trigeminocervical complex, sits in the dorsal horn of the spinal column. This is a primary reason why pathology in and around C2 is so destructive to the autonomic nervous system and general well-being. C1/C2, being the most mobile segment of our spine, makes it the easiest segment for our body to use to compensate for deviation elsewhere.
This is why the upper cervical spine is typically a disaster-area in physical therapy patients, and most humans, for that matter. I’m not sure about other animals, like hippopotami, so I won’t comment on that. Platypuses, platypi, however, I'm sure have super-good upper cervical spines. They have wizard magic. I mean, the freak-shows are mammals. And they lay eggs. I bet they can fly too, probably to outer space…
Look at the brain areas involved in the illustrations of the various parts of the trigeminocervical complex below. If any of those structures become pathologic, we suffer a systemic departure from homeostasis. This negatively affects the mind and body’s ability to heal anything, anywhere.
Note: Look at the concentration of cranial nerves exiting the foramen magnum. The spinal accessory, hypoglossal, glossopharyngeal, vagus, trigeminal, and facial nerves are all there on each side of the neck around C0-C2. Any disruption of this area takes energy away from the autonomic nervous system that it could be using to heal other stuff, like elbow rashes. This is assuming you can’t corral the lazy Rash Removal Fairies to actually do their job…
The overall effect of dry needling, almost regardless of how you perform it, is sympathetic depression, parasympathetic elevation, and autonomic homeostasis compared to baseline. This just so happens to work out perfectly for us, because basically all physical therapy patients present with sympathetic hyperactivity as a primary or secondary underlying causative factor of impairment. If the patient does not have any specific underlying factor causing their pain, rash, or inflammation, the cause is most likely directly secondary to sympathetic autonomic hyperactivity disrupting the autonomic nervous system’s ability to self-regulate. This can result in just about any presentation you can think of, both mental and physical. Now, there may be an initial insult, like a poorly administered injection, broken bone, surgery, sky-diving incident, bear mauling, or whatever, but if that initial insult is past, the problem is no longer the specific initial insult, but your body and brain’s inability to recover their ability to regulate the autonomic nervous system to homeostasis, secondary to systemic energy deficiency and metabolic dysfunction.
By needling the jaw and the face we can regulate the autonomic nervous system toward homeostasis, secondary to the regulatory effects upper cervical and facial needling has on the cranial nerves and the autonomic nervous system, in general. After we removed most of the signs and symptoms associated with the elbow rash above, simply by needling the face and pushing the autonomic nervous system back to a point where it was able to begin self-regulation, we moved on to actually treating the elbow, hand, and other structures, along with the pelvic floor, since it is also a parasympathetic-dominant portion of the spinal cord. In 3 days, we were able to completely resolve a problem that typical medical treatment failed to resolve. I see the same complete resolution for a plethora of apparently untreatable and “idiopathic” impairments on a consistent basis. Some of these include incontinence, headaches, tinnitus, hearing loss, pain, and a whole lot more. The underlying reason for this is thoughtfully performed dry needling, especially when combined with joint manipulation, is the most powerful tool physical therapists have at their disposal to substantially shift the autonomic nervous system into the homeostatic range where it can once again self-regulate and access it’s full suite of magical, innate healing abilities, which it had been inhibited from accessing previously.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if anyone has any questions about anything.
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