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Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture: Relief at the Point of a Needle

Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture: Relief at the Point of a Needle

Dry needling and acupuncture are both needle-based techniques used to address pain and dysfunction, but they have some key differences. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand which might be right for you.

The Philosophy Behind the Needles

  • Dry Needling: Rooted in Western medicine, dry needling focuses on targeting trigger points – tight knots in muscles that can cause pain and limit movement. The goal is to deactivate these trigger points, improve blood flow, and reduce pain.
  • Acupuncture: Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture aims to restore balance in the body’s energy flow (qi) by inserting needles into specific points along meridians. This is believed to stimulate the nervous system and promote healing.

Targeting Trouble Spots

  • Dry Needling: Physiotherapist use their knowledge of anatomy to locate trigger points and insert needles directly into them. The needles may cause a twitching sensation, which is considered a good sign.

Acupuncture: Acupuncturists insert needles at specific points on meridians, not necessarily related to the location of pain. The needles may be manipulated or left in place for a short time.

Conditions Treated

  • Dry Needling: Primarily used for musculoskeletal pain, like muscle tension, headaches, and sports injuries.
  • Acupuncture: Can address a wider range of conditions, including chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, and even allergies.

Who Performs the Techniques?

  • Dry Needling: Often performed by physiotherapists,  or certified athletic trainers who have received additional training and licenses.
  • Acupuncture: Physiotherapist or licensed acupuncturists with specialized training in Traditional Chinese Medicine perform acupuncture.

Benefits of Both Techniques

  • Pain Relief: Both dry needling and acupuncture have been shown to be effective in managing pain.
  • Improved Function: By reducing pain and stiffness, both techniques can help improve range of motion and function.

Choosing Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture

If you have musculoskeletal pain, pain management and are looking for a Western medicine approach, dry needling may be a good option. If you’re interested in a holistic approach for welness, acupuncture could be a better fit.

Contact Don Kelly for Treatment Plan

Don Kelly is trained and licensed in both modalities, allowing us to create a personalized treatment plan to address your unique needs.
Here are some conditions we can help with:
Back pain
Neck pain
Shoulder pain
Sports injuries
Chronic pain
And more!
Don’t wait to live pain-free!

Contact Don Kelly Physiotherapy & Acupuncture today to schedule a consultation and discuss how we can help you achieve your goals.


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