Dry needling is a treatment technique whereby a sterile, single-use, fine filament needle (acupuncture needle) is inserted into the muscle to assist with decreasing pain and improving function through the release of myofascial trigger points (knots in muscle).
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS METHOD AND ACUPUNCTURE?
It is not the same as acupuncture, although there are similarities between the two techniques. The main difference with acupuncture is the theory behind why the methods work.
This method is primarily focused on the reduction of pain and restoration of function through the release of myofascial trigger points in the muscle. In comparison, acupuncture focuses on the treatment of medical conditions by restoring the flow of energy (Qi) through critical points in the body (meridians) to restore balance
How does it work?
Dry needling involves a thin filiform needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable.
As acupuncturist, wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment when dry needling, consistent with Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings, and OSHA standards. The sterile needles are disposed of in a medical sharps collector.
Our acupuncture clinic uses dry needling to release or inactivate trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. Preliminary research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. This can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation.
As part of their entry-level education, our physical therapists are well educated in anatomy and therapeutic treatment of the body. Acupuncturists who perform the treatment supplement that knowledge by obtaining specific postgraduate education and training. When contacting a physical therapist for dry needling treatment, be sure to ask about their particular experience and education.