What is Dry Needling Therapy?

Have you heard of Dry Needling from your friends or doctors?

You may or you may not have heard of Dry Needling intervention. Dry needling (DN) Therapy is fairly new in the field of physical therapy. Many people confuse DN with Acupuncture. We will discuss what dry needing is and how it is different from Acupuncture.

Dry Needling vs Acupuncture

This has been very sensitive topic for the last decade. DN is a western medicine of needling technique. Wet Needling is opposite of dry needling technique, often used for several types of injections. Physical Therapists have been practicing to reduce trigger points or myofascial pains with hands and instruments for years. Dry Needling is a similar type of treatment, however, the needles are inserted more deeper and accurate to purposely target specific muscles or tendons. Whereas Acupuncture is associated with Chinese medicine, DN is a more Western-based philosophy. . Acupuncture points are not based on Anatomy and Physiology. Acupuncturists have been practicing acupuncture points for over 5000 + years ago with no scientific evidence. The purpose of pressure points are to increase energy flow throughout the body. I agree that these points are sometimes effective!


Same type of needles, but why different?

Physical Therapists use acupuncture needles due to widespread availability. Acupuncture Needles are solid filiform needles to aim trigger points in your body effectively. We don’t practice this modality on any assumption. DN will target specific muscles or tendons. That’s why only a trained physical therapist can perform such a special modality. Physical Therapists are musculoskeletal specialists. DN is a great modality to reduce inflammation, hyperactivity of nerves, and decreased pain. Isn’t that great?

Any Side Effect after Dry Needling?

Muscle soreness after treatment up to 24-72 hours is typical. Needling creates minor damage to the skin, but needs time to heal.  Many patients experience immediate relief following this type of procedure. Physical Therapists will avoid major arteries and veins to prevent excessive bleeding. Therapists check patient’s medications (ex: various blood thinners) to avoid potential accidents. Dry needling is a more natural way to reduce muscle pains and aches while other pain medications can potentially cause serious side effects. In addition, taking pain medications can cause constipation, dizzness, low blood pressure, and decreased kidney function. In other words, muscle soreness is a minor side effect!

Who will benefit from DN?

Patients with variety of musculoskeletal issues can benefit from Dry Needling Therapy. Physical Therapist treat Dry Needling Therapy for Acute, chronic lower back pain and neck pain, shoulder, knee, hamstring, thigh, ankle and many more joints in your body. I would recommend treatments with patients who tried massage therapy or chiropractic treatment with immediate, yet short term relief. Patients who present with many trigger points and muscle tightness would benefit from this therapy treatment. Please keep in mind that not everyone may benefit from this type of modality. However, an experienced Physical Therapist will recognize the indications for the need of this type of modality.  So why not try a cool intervention today? Request a free consultation with a Dry Needling Specialist at Newcare Physical Therapy today or email us at drshin@newcarept.com

Michael Shin

DPT, DN Cert, TPI Cert
Dr. Michael Shin has been Dry Needling Specialist since 2011 where he started practicing Dry Needling at Redmond Outpatient Rehab in Rome, GA.