The Difference Between Dry-Needling and Acupuncture

The Difference Between Dry-Needling and Acupuncture

December 5, 2022

Today we’ll be talking a little bit about dry needling why we offer dry needling and some of the benefits. So Austin is gonna allow me to do some dry needling on him.

One question that we commonly get is:

“How is dry needling different than acupuncture?”

I’ll show you a needle so you can see that the needles are very small.

They’re not like hypodermic needles. We call them mono-filament, which means that the needle isn’t hollow, you can see that it’s even flexible, because it’s so small.

And, because the needle is so small, it generally doesn’t hurt as much as a hypodermic needle that you usually get an injection with.

The benefit to dry needling is that we can target tissues that are underneath. Often, we as physical therapists are trying to get too deep tissues, or points that are sensitive, which are underneath thick layers of tissue. The needle allows us to get to those.

These are actually the same needles as acupuncturists will generally use the difference between dry Neeley and acupuncture is kind of the philosophy behind it. We are targeting specific anatomical structures. We know what structures we’re going for and that we want to affect changes in.

In typical acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used to try altering what they’ll call “Qi” or energy flow, it generally doesn’t hurt as much as a hypodermic needle that you usually get an injection with. That’s not the same philosophy that we’re using there. We’re trying to get to trigger points in a muscle or muscular tendinous junctions where muscle and tendon and bone are meeting. And we’re trying to get to those points targeting them specifically in the arm in this example. Whereas an acupuncturist might be using some needles in your shoulder, your elbow, your hand, your foot… all over the body to alter energy flow.

In the video above, I demonstrate a few techniques that we use. Some of the techniques I’m demonstrating here are ones we use frequently with Lateral epicondylitis, which is more commonly known as tennis elbow. We find that point, which we call the common extensor tendon, and a bunch of muscles meet together to form one tendon that attaches near the elbow and we’ll generally just do one little tap and it goes in pretty easily, right here near the elbow.

I’ll find the right spot and set the needle into that tissue. It’s nothing like a hypodermic needle. Some people have a hard time getting injections but they will have no difficulty with acupuncture or dry needling because the needles are so much smaller.

Some of the effects after dry needling are pain reduction. During the dry needling, sometimes it can be a little uncomfortable to work sensitive spots But generally after dry needling, you’ll get some pain relief. Sometimes people will feel fatigued in the muscles, as if they’ve done a workout, maybe for a day or two afterward. Those are the general long-term effects of dry needling.

If you’d like to learn more about Dry-Needling and how it can help you, click here for more information.

Request An Appointment

Please fill out this form and we will contact you about scheduling.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.