What Is The Difference Between Acupuncture And Dry Needling?
Dry needling and acupuncture involve puncturing the skin with ultra thin needles for therapeutic purposes. While a shared aim is to provide relief from pain, the practices are otherwise very different.
Acupuncture: is based on channel theory and uses meridian points to heal the body naturally and allow for endorphins and chi/healing energy to be released.
Dry Needling: is based on trigger point therapy (a massage technique). A trigger point is a part/section of the muscle that is overactive and unable to relax. The insertion of a needle into the trigger point or tight muscle allows for the muscle to relax. This is a less painful version than the massage technique.
Does A Physiotherapist Undergo Training To Do Dry Needling?
Yes, a physiotherapist can only use dry needling or acupuncture when they have completed training in the techniques they plan to use.
Does Dry Needling Hurt And What Types Are There?
There are 5 grades when dry needling.
Grade 1-2: The first two grades of needling are the most similar to acupuncture and should not cause any pain. The results are normally noticed within 24 - 48 hours after the session.
Grade 3-4: These grades can cause some discomfort initially when inserted however should resolve within a few seconds. The results are normally noticed within 4 - 24 hours after the session.
Grade 5: This grade is called a 'twitch response'. The purpose of this technique is to have the muscle 'twitch' resulting in a rapid release of the trigger point. The 'twitch response' technique can cause moderate levels of pain and is generally only used on elite athletes or people with a higher pain tolerance. The results are normally felt immediately.
The physiotherapist will discuss with you any safety considerations required prior to commencing. They will ask for your consent and give you any additional information that you may require prior to needling. If you do not wish to have needling completed, there are always other treatment modalities available.