What Is Dry Needling & Why Should I Consider It For Pain Management?
Updated: Feb 14
The Differences Between Acupuncture and Modern Day Dry Needling
The introduction of integrative dry needling often conjures up visions of acupuncture, however, the two differ greatly.
Acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine based around the force energy (qi) belief. The practice varies greatly by country, philosophy, and practitioner. Integrative dry needling is based on neuro-anatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. A licensed physical therapist is trained to utilize a very fine filament needle through the skin and into the deeper tissues that are considered trigger points, nervous system centers of your pain and tissues that require healing. Unlike acupuncture, the dry needles may only be inserted for a few minutes and this method of treatment is followed by other forms of therapy to maximize desired results.
THE MEDICAL SCIENCE
Dry needling works by causing a micro lesion within the pathological tissue thus relaxing shortened tissues, inhibiting a reflex arc from the nervous system to the tissue, normalizing the inflammatory response, and centrally mediating the pain. This mechanical and neuromuscular effect provides an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal which ultimately reduces pain.
Based on this mechanism, dry needling can be used to treat neck, back and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headache to include migraines and tension-type headaches, jaw pain, buttock pain and leg pain (sciatica, hamstrings strains, calf tightness/spasms), among many other conditions.
At Durant Physical Therapy, we use dry needling as an adjunct service included with your physical therapy to increase the speed of injury recovery and maximize response and ability to perform active treatment techniques. Whether you have been dealing with a sudden injury or chronic pain, dry needling can be utilized to aid your pain management and recovery.
If you are interested in trying dry needling or have more questions go to our website or ask us in the office.
About the Author: Vinnie Maiorino
Vinnie Maiorino is a physical therapist at Durant Physical Therapy with over a decade of experience as a therapist and a Credentialed Clinical Instructor. He specializes in manual therapy of all types with special training in kinesiology taping, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, and integrative dry needling.