Dry needling versus acupuncture.

Dry needling and acupuncture both involve puncturing the skin with thin needles for therapeutic purposes. However, while both therapies aim is to provide relief from pain, the practices are otherwise very different.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling involves one of our trained physiotherapists introducing short needles into trigger points in muscles to stimulate a ‘twitch’ response resulting in release of the taut band of muscle. The basis of the technique is to restore normal muscle function and is to be used in conjunction with a rehabilitative exercise program. Research into dry needling has significantly increased over the last 10 years and is practiced by clinical professionals in Ireland.

What is Acupuncture?

In contrast, acupuncture is based on traditional medicine practices which use the body’s energy channels or meridians, which are linked to organs and bodily functions to guide treatment.

Dry needling and pain relief.

Dry needling aims to reduce the central nervous system’s hypersensitivity to pain, reduce local pain and improve muscle activation patterns. Treatment can lead to improved range of motion and alleviation of trigger points that occur from unaccustomed muscle loading or sustained postures such as sitting at an office desk. It is often used for acute pain reduction and a ‘reset’ type function to allow for rehabilitative exercise program to be more effective.

Sterile Technique

Dry needling is a sterile technique utilising single use needles, gloves and alcohol wipes. The treatment lasts a few minutes where the physio inserts several filiform needles into your skin. Filiform needles are fine, short, stainless steel needles that don’t inject fluid into the body, thus the term “dry” is used. The needle is inserted into the muscle to locate the trigger point and stimulate twitch responses. Once the trigger point has been stimulated the needle is removed.

What are the benefits?

Dry needling can provide relief for muscular pain and stiffness. The method is often used to treat sports injuries and muscle pain, where easeing of trigger points can improve flexibility and increase range of motion.

PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne recommendation

If you are experiencing any muscle pain or spasms contact one of our specialist physios at PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne to book a dry needling appointment.


PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath

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