Are Dry Needling & Acupuncture the Same?

At first glance, dry needling and acupuncture may appear to be the same. Both practices use small, thin, stainless steel needles. These needles are inserted into the skin to treat pain. So, are they the same? The short answer is no. They are indeed quite different processes. Know the difference between the two to determine the right treatment for you! We offer dry needling at each of our Peak Performance Physical Therapy centers located in Hammond and beyond. Here’s what you need to know about these pain-relieving treatments. 

What Is Dry Needling?

Trigger point dry needling is a technique developed to alleviate muscle tightness and tension. It was pioneered by Dr. Janet Travell in the 1940s. Her research and practice began with “wet needling” trigger points in the muscles before transitioning to dry needling. Dr. David G. Simon aided in research by identifying other trigger points throughout the body. Three decades later, Dr. C. Gunn further expanded on dry needling through intramuscular stimulation. His studies targeted myofascial pain and helped to identify the connection between nerves and pathological conditions.

Modern dry needling is often used following an injury in which muscle tissue degeneration is present. Tight muscles can compress nerves, leading to moderate or severe pain that radiates throughout the body. A specialist will insert hairline needles into trigger points, or painful focal points in the muscle. With careful, precise placement, your therapist can access and activate these trigger points. No medicine or liquid exists in the needles. This is why the process is referred to as “dry” needling. By inserting the dry needle into the hard muscle and leaving it for a specific amount of time, the muscle will begin to relax. This is a fantastic method for relieving muscle cramps and spasms as well!

How Does It Differ From Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has roots in Asian medicine. Dry needling comes from modern Western medicine. Like dry needling, acupuncture’s purpose is to provide pain and stress relief. However, this treatment centers on releasing blocked chi—or the body’s healing energy—rather than targeting knots or tension in the muscles. Long, thin needles are inserted into the body at various depths. They are placed along meridians, or chi pathways. This specific placement is believed to promote better energy flow in the body and stimulate the inner balance of the body’s life force. Both treatments may have a relaxing or energizing result, but it is best to consult with your doctor to establish which treatment is right for you.

Trigger point dry needling is a widely used and accepted recovery treatment in physical therapy. Whether used on its own or paired with other physical therapy practices, this rehabilitation treatment can help you to begin feeling better, faster! Patients may experience soreness, bleeding, or bruising around the injection site, but this is short-lived. If you are seeking improved flexibility or range of motion, talk with your physical therapist about dry needling today.

Find Dry Needling Services in Hammond

If you are living with chronic pain, don’t lose hope! Treatments like dry needling can help to release pain and tension so that your body can focus on its natural healing process. Our trained specialists at Peak Performance Physical Therapy offer trigger point dry needling as a means of improving flexibility, decreasing pain, and promoting relaxation. If you are looking for dry needling in Hammond, reach out to us today to schedule an appointment! Give us a call at 985-956-7205, or send us a message to request more information. This service is available at each of our eight locations, so make sure to find your nearest clinic! With the help of our skilled therapists and various treatment options, we can find the right services to kickstart your recovery journey.