I recently interviewed several therapists for a position at my clinic that required the use of dry needling therapy. As part of the interview process we asked them to perform some needling on a staff member.
The point of the exercise was to evaluate the dry needling skills they had and to learn how other therapists work. This turned out to be a great idea. We saw some really great skills and some very proficient practitioners displaying their talents.
What I learned though was that nearly every one of the therapists we saw didn’t appreciate the importance of needle gauge. They all knew about which needle length to use for a particular area but had no appreciation of the choice of needle thickness.
As an Acupuncturist & a Dry Needling therapist, the choice of needle gauge is vital. Using the wrong gauge needle can cause pain, bruising, bleeding and even tissue damage.
Here’s my advice:
- A 30mm long and 0.18mm to 0.22mm gauge diameter is used in the face, neck, hands, and feet, as those areas are more sensitive.
- A 50mm to 70mm and 0.30mm gauge needle is used for the gluteal region in most patients.
- A 30mm and 0.25mm to 0.30mm gauge needle is generally used everywhere else.
Of course there are many considerations when choosing which needle to use. Here’s just a few:
- Patient morphology
- Location of trigger point
- Patient familiarity with acupuncture needles
- Desired effect
- Patient age & skin type
The key is to match the available needle types with the variables for each patient and presentation. The best thing to do is to practice with varying needles to see which needles you are comfortable & confident using. Good Luck
Dr Wayne W Mahmoud
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