Have you ever had a friend suggest you should try dry needling? Or wondered what the difference between dry needling and acupuncture is? In fact, why is it even called ‘dry’ needling? 

Today, we’ll talk about where dry needling comes from, how it works and when it may work for you.

How does dry needling work? 

Biomedical dry needling has roots in western medicine practice. It involves the insertion of a thin, solid filament needle into a muscle in order to help it relax and function better. It is theorized that dry needling stimulates processes in the body that contribute to the healing process. 

Muscle trigger points can cause pain and dysfunction. Trigger points can develop in muscles for various reasons including pain, inflammation, injury and others. The needle is inserted into these trigger points in order to release them. It is termed ‘dry’ because no substance is injected or removed from your body.

It is performed by a licensed physical therapist that has taken advanced training in anatomy, musculoskeletal function and dysfunction.

Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture

While Dry Needling and Acupuncture use the same tool they have different theoretical purposes. Dry Needling is based on anatomical structures and function with the goal of restoring muscle function. Traditional acupuncture treatments are based on normalizing energy imbalances.

When should you have dry needling?

Releasing trigger points through dry needling may reduce tightness and pain and increase joint range of motion. Common areas of the body treated through dry needling are the shoulder, TMJ, elbow and hand, back, hip, knee and ankle. 

Kara is certified to perform dry needling as a part of physiotherapy sessions at Nova. Dry Needling is prescribed as part of an overall care plan and is used in conjunction with other physical therapy and massage techniques to help you reach your goals.

Your physical therapist will perform a thorough assessment and discuss the purpose, benefits and risks of dry needling with you before performing the technique.


Contact the clinic today to find out more information or book with Kara!

Kara Montieth

Kara Montieth

Founding Partner & Physical Therapist

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