Dry needling is fast growing treatment option that can be performed by trained physical therapists with proper secondary training. Many patients are sometimes confused what dry needling treatment is and how it is different compared to acupuncture.
According to the Federal State Board of Physical Therapy in 2015, dry needling was defined as the following:
Dry needling is a skilled technique performed by a physical therapist using filiform needles to penetrate the skin and/or underlying tissue to affect change in body structures and functions for the evaluation and management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain, movement impairments, and disability.
With that said, here are a few differences between dry needling treatment by a physical therapist and acupuncture:
- Acupuncture is a treatment based on eastern medical diagnosis requiring training in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Evaluation of a patient often includes tongue and pulse diagnosis. Based on the diagnosis, the practitioner inserts needles into specific points that lie along the merdians or channels of the body through the life force or “qi”.
- Dry Needling treatment is based on western medical philosophy. The evaluation includes patient history, symptoms, pain patterns, movement, muscular and articular function utilizing functional and orthopaedic tests and measures. Based on this information provided, treatment is guided by the impairments and limitations and the physical therapist will insert needles into muscle tissue that’s causing dysfunction.
- Physical therapists must have extensive and proper education and knowledge of the muscular and nervous system, along with orthopedics in general skills including manual therapy and re-education in movement.
These are just a few things that differentiates dry needling from acupuncture treatment. If you would like to learn even more about this treatment and if it would be a good treatment option for you, please visit PEAK Physical Therapy to learn more from our physical therapists that are certified in dry needling.