So by now most (if not all) of you know that we are certified in dry needling at OrthoCore. What some of you may not know is the difference between dry needling and traditional acupuncture. Before I get into the differences let me start with the similarities. Both acupuncture and dry needling use a fine filament, non-injectable, needle. Well, that was easy because that is where the similarities end. Now let's get into the differences.
Traditional acupuncture is based off meridians and qi (chi) flow. The goal of acupuncture is to place the needles along the meridian lines at specific points to improve the qi flow. The needles are typically left in for a longer period of time (15-45 min). I don’t want people to get the wrong idea thinking that I don’t like or respect practitioners who practice acupuncture. They are highly skilled individuals who help a lot of people. I have recommended that certain patients try acupuncture in the past. That being said, it just isn’t dry needling.
Dry needling uses the acupuncture needle to treat trigger points. A trigger point is a tight band within your muscle tissue. They can cause pain and can lead to restrictions in movement. The dry needling treatment releases the trigger point therefore, lowering pain sensation and improving joint movement. The treatment is extremely effective for any type of pain (acute or chronic), rehabilitation from an injury, and also injury prevention. Dry needling is usually a very quick treatment. The longest we would leave the needles in place is around 1-5 min.
Here is a more practical application to show the differences between the treatments. Let’s say, for example, a patient comes in with low back pain. If that patient goes to an acupuncturist they might get some needles placed in their back at the site of pain, but they may also get some along the specific meridian line that is being treated. Other points along that line may include the hand, the foot, the face, etc. The goal of the treatment being to align the qi flow. If that same patient came to us for dry needling, they would get treatment to the low back, and possibly the hips (if their joint movement is restricted). That is it, nothing in the hands or at other areas not directly leading to the painful trigger points. Once the dry needling is completed, the patient will be instructed in corrective movement to use the new mobility that is created with the treatment. This helps to improve the patient’s movement but also helps correct the underlying cause of pain.
If you have been dealing with pain, or painful movement, dry needling should be able to help. I am one of the few physical therapists offering dry needling in Rhode Island, and I have been doing it for the longest in the state, so you’re in good hands! If you have any questions or want to schedule your dry needling appointment, contact OrthoCore today at 401-667-0131.