Dry needling is a specialty offered by some physical therapists and MDs who take continuing education on use of acupuncture needles for treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and around nerves. Acupuncture needles are used for the treatment, but dry needling is not acupuncture. Practitioners of dry needling are using their knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, as well as evidenced-based techniques, to specifically needle areas of pain and dysfunction.
Dry needling is meant to be an adjunct treatment, and not to be done in isolation. Once pain is reduced, exercises, patient education, or other manual techniques may need to be applied to keep pain at bay.
Click here for an educational resource from the APTA: Physical Therapists and The Performance of Dry Needling