Dry needling might have some similarities with acupuncture, but this medicine technique is often associated with physical therapy. Also known as myofascial trigger point dry needling or intramuscular stimulation (IMS), the American Physical Therapy Association technically defines this technique as a treatment for skeletal muscle or connective tissue dysfunction, damage, or pain.
Dry needling vs. acupuncture
Acupuncture relieves pain by balancing the flow of energy (Qi) in the body. This is achieved by inserting needles in specific acupuncture points to release endorphins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
On the other hand, trigger point dry needling is performed by inserting a needle directly into a specific point in the muscles that cause the pain. Interestingly, a 2014 review has revealed that inserting the needles into the muscles around the painful site is more effective than zeroing in on the pain points only. This dry needling technique is somewhat similar to acupuncture as it treats a larger area of nerves and muscles.
In Florida, dry needling for back pain cannot be performed by physical therapists under existing laws. The good news is that Dr. Guan, an acupuncturist in Gainesville, FL, has undergone intensive training in both fields and has a license to provide both physical therapy and acupuncture services to patients.
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