Return To Blog

Cheyenne Physical Therapist and All Other Locations Explains Differences Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture

September 20, 2017

When it comes to acupuncture and dry needling, many think the two are the same because they use needles. This is untrue. The two are different and have specific purposes. If you suffer from varying types of pain, it is important to know the difference between the two. No matter what, it is also best to get help to relieve pain and combat symptoms. You can rely on Casper physical therapy to help. Learn about the differences between acupuncture and dry needling, and why you should visit a physical therapist to help you manage pain.


Acupuncture is a type of Chinese medicine. It is a type of therapy where thin needles are strategically placed in certain points of the body to help relieve certain types of pain. The believe of acupuncture is to help to balance the flow of energy in the body, which is known as chi. The needles are placed in specific areas along certain points with the goal to re-balance energy. In many cases, it is believed that acupuncture is a natural pain treatment that also helps to increase blood flow in certain areas. It is used in a variety of pain types from shoulder, neck and back pain, to headaches, fibromyalgia and more. As the needles are being inserted, it is usually not painful—just a small amount of pressure and possibly a tingling sensation.

Dry Needling

While dry needling uses needles similar to acupuncture, it is a completely different practice. Also known as trigger point dry needling, this is a treatment that uses small needles that are inserted into a muscle’s trigger points. It is commonly used for chronic pain or injuries in the neck, shoulder, arms, legs, knees, feet and, much more. By going into these trigger points, it can help to increase one’s range of motion. It is placed into a muscle that may have knots and can reduce inflammation, knots and help to keep muscles from contracting. Similar to acupuncture, it is typically not a painful when the needle is inserted. Those who undergo this type of treatment may feel sore for a day or two as changes occur within the muscles. You can read more about the side effects and process of dry needling here.

Visiting a Physical Therapist

For those looking to ease pain, seeing a physical therapist is important. By going into physical therapy, you can get to the root of an issue and through a series of strategic exercises, can help to manage and in some cases, eliminate pain. For many, this can also be done through dry needling. Once working with a physical therapist for dry needling, you can begin to increase your range of motion that is less painful. From chronic pain and plantar fasciitis, to headaches and tennis elbow, there are a variety of reasons to choose dry needling.

For a physical therapist you can trust to help you with pain management and dry needling, count on the experts at North Platte Physical Therapy. We will help you on your way to recovery using this effective treatment for both acute and chronic pain. Contact us today to see how we can help you.