Both acupuncture and dry needling are one of the many tools in a Chartered Physiotherapists tool box. However, I am often asked what is the difference between the two?
Acupuncture is probably one of the best known Chinese Medicine techniques and is widely used due to its effectiveness in treating musculoskeletal injuries. It is a safe and effective medical treatment. It is based on the philosophy that each organ of the body has its own associated channel or pathway of energy known as meridians. There are 12 meridians in the body. The very fine acupuncture needles are inserted into the points along the meridians with aim of reducing pain or returning the body to its normal homeostasis.
In recent years there has been a lot of research into the mechanisms of acupuncture. To date it is thought that acupuncture has multiple effects on the muscular and nervous system of the body. Basically, at a local level acupuncture improves blood flow to the muscle. It can provide pain relieving effects through utilisation of acupuncture points in muscles close to the spinal cord which release neurotransmitters that stimulate the parts of the brain that control pain relief.
Dry needling is a very similar mechanism however the response is more local i.e. in the muscle being treated. The needles are inserted directly into muscles that have tight knots called trigger points. These trigger points can cause and refer pain to different areas of the body. The aim of dry needling is to relax tight muscles and therefore increase range of movement, improve blood flow, decrease pain through the release of neurotransmitters.
Both techniques can be used to treat acute and persistent musculoskeletal pain. They can be used independently or as an adjunct to effectively manage many conditions to get you back to full performance.
If you are struggling with pain or injury and are interested in acupuncture or dry needling as a treatment option why not click here to book online or ring (059)9116939.