Dry Needling VS Acupuncture: What are the differences?

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Acupuncture and dry needling are techniques often confused. Although these techniques are very similar, however, they differ substantially. Your chiropractor Centurion specialises in dry needling and this may help to manage muscle pain.

An injury or strain on muscles can lead to tension and inflammation build-up. This is the body’s normal reaction in its attempt to protect itself from the injury.

Dry needling and acupuncture come from the family of alternative medicines. While they may seem similar and often the one confused for the other, they differ quite a bit. Both techniques are minimally invasive and designed to target specific areas of the body that we’ll discuss in this post.

If you’re trying to manage mild to moderate pain without the need to take pain medications, then your skilled chiropractors in Centurion can help. Chiropractors specialise in dry needling and can help you via this holistic approach to treating the problem.

What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture and can your chiropractor in Centurion help?


  • Acupuncture forms part of Traditional Chinese Medicine aka TCM and uses certain points of the body to “stimulate energy” and allow for “natural healing”.
  • Acupuncture focuses on the body’s natural energy by targeting what’s known as Meridian points.

One of the principals of acupuncture is that when the energy flow is “retriggered” or activated along the meridian channels, it helps the body to preform better. The body can then better cope with certain levels of pain.

Just like pain treatment in dry needling, acupuncture is also used to help with lower back pain, headaches, painful periods, allergies, osteoarthritis and chronic knee pain to name a few.

Dry needling

  • Like acupuncture, dry needling involves puncturing the skin and specifically into the tense muscles to release pressure.
  • Dry needling focuses on myofascial trigger points which are also called “hyperirritable spots”.
  • Dry needling focuses on Western anatomical and neurophysiologic principles.

Chiropractors and physical therapists use the dry needling technique to minimise and help patients manage pain. While it may not focus on channelling and directing the body’s energy as is seen in acupuncture, dry needling also targets specific points on the body. These “trigger points” targeted allows tension release which helps to improve mobility in the affected region and less pain.

Specific points on the body may not require the same amount of needle treatment. Patients thus have a tailored experience based on their situation which in the end would determine how many sessions are needed.  Both acupuncture and dry needling work for the aim to relieve pain.



Advantages of dry needling by your chiropractor

Specific points on the body may not need the same amount of needle treatment. Patients thus have a tailored experience based on their situation which in the end would determine how many sessions are needed.

Dry needling is also an affordable treatment option and safer than traditional medicine that could have an array of side effects.

Your chiropractor may use dry needling to treat the following:

  • Joint problems and pain
  • Repetitive motion disorder
  • Whiplash
  • Pelvic pain
  • Phantom pain
  • Disk problems
  • Migraine and tension headaches
  • Dry needling may help to speed up the healing process caused by injuries
  • It can be used along with physiotherapy
  • It may help improve blood circulation
  • Regular sessions could help with chronic pain management

Some side effects of dry needling

Dry needling is a natural minimally invasive approach to treating muscle and musculoskeletal pain. However, there are some side effects that patients can experience, some include but are not limited to:

  • Localised bleeding
  • Soreness and sensitivity during and after the treatment procedure
  • Bruising of the areas treated
  • Some patients have also reported feeling faint or light-headed

It’s important to find a reputable chiropractor in your area for treatment

A qualified chiropractor in Pretoria has experience in dry needling and often trained by a trusted institute. A chiropractor may assess the condition or type of pain experienced by the patient and will work on a treatment plan.

Chiropractic incorporates a safe, drug-free treatment and is suitable for various ages. Your specialist will advise which treatment is best bearing factors such as age, pregnancy, and health conditions in mind. Many pregnant and post-pregnancy patients have benefited from chiropractic as do babies and senior patients.

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