Understanding the differences between dry needling vs. acupuncture involves minute details that you cannot see in a photograph of the procedures. The similarities are easy to recognize, as they both require needles inserted into specific areas of the body.
Health professionals have used acupuncture for thousands of years. Researchers have studied the method and determined that it is effective as physical therapy treatment. On the other hand, dry needling is a relatively new treatment method that researchers are still studying.
Differences Between the Pain-Relief Techniques
Health professionals and their patients should look at the differences between dry needling vs. acupuncture to determine which technique will help the most.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient treatment that originated in China. Acupuncturists place needles along the meridian lines of the body. Each meridian line represents the organs, and the process of putting needles in key spots helps bring relief by restoring energy flow through the body.
Acupuncturists leave the needles in the body for up to 30 minutes. Many acupuncturists use the technique to treat pain and bring relief to insomnia, stress, and other internal health problems.
What Is Dry Needling?
Physical therapists or other health care providers who use dry needling place fine needles into trigger points that often lie in muscle bands. Each needle is supposed to trigger a response from the muscle. As the needle enters the myofascial trigger point, it stresses and then releases.
During a dry needling session, muscles often begin twitching after the provider places them in the trigger point. The provider leaves the needle in place until the muscle stops twitching. Sometimes, the practitioner moves the needle in and out of the trigger spot to help it release more efficiently.
Dry needling earns its name as the filiform needles are not used to insert a liquid into the body. Practitioners only use the needle to bring relief to chronic pain.
Benefits of Dry Needling Vs. Acupuncture
Both treatments help the body find relief from pain. Dry needling reduces muscular stiffness while improving flexibility and range of motion. Many physical therapists use the technique to treat muscle pain, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, and temporal mandibular joint issues.
Acupuncture also has several benefits. The goal of the treatment is to remove block chi, which is the flow of energy through the body. When chi flows freely, the body can heal itself. Acupuncture treats chronic problems relating to pain, vomiting and nausea, headaches, allergies, and addiction.
Researchers have found that acupuncture can treat low back pain, neck pain, and labor pains. Acupuncture also helps treat problems related to migraines and depressions. Some practitioners use acupuncture to help people stop smoking, too.
Get the Help You Need with Mid-County Physical Therapy
When deciding between dry needling vs. acupuncture, practitioners often look at the problems they are treating. Both treatment methods have a few side effects that are limited to pain, bruising, or bleeding at the puncture site.
Dry needling is the newest of the two treatment methods, and acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and several research programs.
At Mid-County Physical Therapy, we will determine the right method of pain relief for your physical therapy plan. Get in touch with us today!