Often patients will ask me about dry needling. What dry needling is? The benefits? And what the difference is between dry needling and acupuncture?
I use dry needling in the treatment and management of many of my patients, with excellent results and minimal pain!
What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a safe, minimally invasive, and relatively painless treatment technique, when delivered by trained healthcare professionals.
It involves the insertion of very fine sterile needles into muscular trigger points (knots), and tight muscles in the body. It may also be used to assist with swelling and pain around joints. The treatment has evolved from expanding neurophysiological medical research.
Difference between dry needling and acupuncture?
Dry needling is based on the anatomical and physiological sciences of the body, supported by high quality peer review medical research studies.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique, based on the concept of energetic pathways and restoring energy balance within the body. Acupuncture is an alternative medicine, and very few studies have been conducted regarding its use, most of poor research quality.
Despite the same tools being used in these two treatments (identical needles are used), researchers’ maintain that there are no other similarities between the two.
What are the benefits?
Recent research has found that dry needling is beneficial in reducing muscle trigger point pain, restoring flexibility around a joint, and improving the activation of muscles.
The Cochrane Collaboration, the prestigious international research organisation, reviews all the relevant medical research; has recommended the use of dry needling in the treatment of conditions such as lower back and neck pain.
Birch, S. (2008). On the impossibility of trigger point-acupoint equivalence: a commentary on Peter Droscher’s analysis. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, 14, 343-345.
Dommerholt, J., & Bron, C. (2012). Myofascial pain syndrome: trigger points. Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, 20(2), 140-146.
Kalichman, L. ,& Vulfsons, S. (2010). Dry needling in the management of musculoskeletal pain. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 23(5), 640-646.
Trinh, K., Graham, N., Gross, A., Goldsmith, C., Wang, E., Cameron, I., Kay, T., & Cervical Overview Group (2006). Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3(CD004870).
Vulfsons, S., Ratmansky, M., & Kalichman, L. (2012). Trigger point needling: techniques and outcome. Current Pain Headache Reports, 16, 407-412.