What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a commonly used treatment that involves the insertion of a very thin filiform needle through the skin, into a muscle. This is often used to help reduce muscular tension, decrease pain or improve range of motion. When applied by a physical therapist, dry needling is typically a small part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Is Dry Needling the Same as Acupuncture?
Both dry needling and acupuncture use the same type of needle, however, the techniques and objectives of each procedure are very different. A physical therapist will use the needle in a different way than an acupuncturist, much the same as how an engineer will use a calculator in a different way than an accountant. Physical therapists typically work within our modern healthcare system and utilize research to guide treatment of the neuromuscular system. On the other hand, acupuncturists are typically guided by traditional Chinese philosophies aimed at balancing the flow of energy or life force known as “qi.”
Why Choose Dry Needling?
This treatment technique has been used for decades and increasingly adopted by physical therapists over the past 15 years. In recent years, a growing body of evidence has demonstrated benefits of dry needling to manage musculoskeletal pain. While further research is required to determine when dry needling is most effective, it remains a very good complement to a comprehensive physical therapy management strategy.
Is Dry Needling Safe?
Doctors of Physical Therapy have completed a minimum of 7 years of formal education at accredited universities. As part of their doctoral education, physical therapists are well educated in anatomy and therapeutic treatment of the body. Physical therapists who perform dry needling go on to complete additional postgraduate training to supplement their knowledge and skill to ensure patient safety. All physical therapists are also licensed within their state and are held to strict safety standards to protect the public.