What’s the Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture for Pain?

Dry needling is a physical therapy technique to relieve pain, using fine needles to pinpoint tight muscles causing pain. Dry needling releases the body’s natural pain-relieving analgesics to reduce pain.

Dry needling involves tools similar to acupuncture.

In dry needling, a physical therapist places small needles into trigger points in muscles. This technique allows the physical therapist to target muscle tissues that are otherwise difficult to reach.

Dry needling is based on a different philosophy than acupuncture.

Dry needling is based on the understanding of neuroanatomy and the physiological effects on the musculoskeletal system. The treatment is performed by a physical therapist specifically trained in the technique.

Dry needling can relieve sudden and long-term pain.

Doctors may refer their patients for this type of physical therapy if they have neck pain, lower back pain, strains or other types of pain in their muscles. Pain relief can start after a single session, and most people complete their treatment within three to eight sessions.

For more details about dry needling, check out this video featuring Christiana Care physical therapist Brian Catania, MPT, SCS, ATC.