Dry Needling Vs. Acupuncture

Here at Advanced Physical Therapy Center, we use dry needling in our practice every day.  We have several physical therapists on staff that are trained in its use.  Dry needling is within a physical therapist’s scope of practice and is very different from acupuncture. People often get confused on the difference of which is which, when they are used and by whom.  The Dry Needling Institute had a very good commentary explaining the difference.  Please read below.

dry needling kneeAcupuncture and dry needling, while using the same needle types, are two very different treatments. Traditional acupuncture is used for the diagnosis and treatment of pathological conditions including visceral and systemic dysfunction, while dry needling is used for the assessment and treatment of myofacial pain syndromes and dysfunction due to myofacial trigger points, tension areas, muscle spasm, and/or increased tonicity.

Acupuncture achieves pain relief through the release of endorphins and creating balance in the body’s energy levels. Through the release of serum cortisol, acupuncture can also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Dry needling (DN) also acts via the release of endorphins and serum cortisol but also achieves pain relief and bio-mechanical re-function by deactivating the trigger points at the muscle-cell level and thus eliminating the nociceptive focus of the muscle. The needles also cause localized hemorrhaging, which promotes healing by stimulating collagen and protein formation.  Dry needling is specific in its selection and searching for trigger points relevant to the clients disorder as interpreted by a western assessment and diagnostic protocols.

For physical therapists, DN is more popular because there is no need to train in dry needling 1traditional acupuncture methods in order to practice the technique of dry needling. These therapists are already working with myofascial problems in their clinics and have the ideal background to integrate dry needling techniques, quickly and effectively, into their treatment and rehabilitation protocols.

Dry needling is also a part of our Wellness Program and is perfect for post-graduate patients who have received dry needling during their formal therapy sessions but need a “tune-up” from time-to-time.  This service is available at most of our seven clinics on a cash pay basis.  To contact your nearest APTC to find out more about dry needling, go to our website.



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