All athletes experience injuries, as all people experience pain and disease in their lives. Some athletes are never completely able to recover from injuries that become chronic and make them more prone to new injuries. Some athletes come to believe that their performance is irreversibly impaired by injury while they are still in their prime, and some do have to face the reality that their athletic career is limited by chronic injuries. For many, however, this limitation is not inevitable. Some injuries can be successfully prevented, and it is possible to greatly improve recovery from both injury and surgery if the mechanisms of integrative systemic dry needling (ISDN) are understood by athletes themselves, their coaches, and their doctors.
Close examination of sports injuries indicates that most are related to soft tissue dysfunction. This is understandable, as soft tissue accounts for half of a human's body weight. Even for injuries that necessitate surgery, the final stage of recovery from both the injury and the surgery still depends on restoring the physiologic function of soft tissue.
ISDN is a unique medical procedure that is designed to restore and normalize soft tissue dysfunction. It is a new development in clinical technique that is different from both conventional dry needling and classic acupuncture, although it shares the same physiologic mechanisms as both methods. ISDN incorporates the analytic approach of conventional dry needling represented by Travell and Simons' trigger-point medicine1 and Gunn's intramuscular stimulation2 and synthesizes them into a unified pathophysiologic system. The treatment emphasizes both local problems and systemic dysfunction, because local injuries definitely affect the entire physiologic and biomechanical system. ISDN is thus a systemic and synthetic approach.
The basic techniques used in ISDN can be traced to the acupuncture that was developed in the ancient Chinese civilization, but its theoretical systems and clinical practice are based on modern medical science. Although ISDN is a division of modern integrative and experimental biomedicine, it maintains the benefits of classical acupuncture, including some of the traditional point system. However, ISDN does not depend on the theory or interpretation of classical acupuncture. The theoretical background and many of the clinical techniques of classical acupuncture are part of an ancient belief system based on empirical data that were appropriate to a particular culture. The unscientific origin behind classical acupuncture has impeded its further development, and ISDN has already metamorphosed from empirical practice into science-based 21st-century medicine.
Although it is a new integrative approach, ISDN is built upon the general principles of biomedical science that are familiar to and accepted by all health care professionals.
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