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What’s the Point? Acupuncture vs Dry Needling
Episode 1820th July 2020 • Back Talk Doc • Sanjiv Lakhia - Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates
00:00:00 00:26:11

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Aside from clinical treatments for back pain and pain in general, acupuncture and dry needling are increasingly becoming part of treatment plans prescribed by physicians. However, there are misconceptions about these two interventions, with people often interchanging one for the other.

In this episode of Back Talk Doc, Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia goes into a discussion on dry needling and acupuncture and the significant differences between these two treatment options. It’s not so much as which is more effective than the other, but rather which intervention is the best course of action for your specific issue.

Generally speaking, acupuncture involves the insertion of needles in certain areas of the body to trigger positive physiologic responses. In dry needling though, your physician or physical therapist has to look at nerve and muscle patterns to identify and stimulate trigger points. While acupuncture is more of a system of care that can normalize other issues in the body as well.

He dives deep into the various scientific research studies that show the efficiency and benefits of these two interventions. These include increased blood flow to the pain area, releasing endorphins, a natural pain-relieving hormone, decreasing muscle banding, and triggering other sympathetic responses.

Dr. Sanjiv emphasizes that both dry needling and acupuncture are great additions to a comprehensive treatment plan. It’s important to consult with your physician to see whether these interventions can help alleviate and manage your back pain.

Key Moments in the Episode

History of acupuncture 02:51

Origins of dry needling 04:24

Scientific research on dry needling and acupuncture 07:23

Physiologic research studies on acupuncture 11:10

Physiologic research studies on dry needling 12:42

Trigger points 15:02

Benefits of dry needling 16:27

Differences in acupuncture and dry needling 18:15

Contraindications 20:36

Resources on dry needling and acupuncture 22:45

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Glute power with Ryan Klomparens, PT

All About the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, The Trigger Point Manual

The Gunn Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Intramuscular Stimulation for Myofascial Pain of Radiculopathic Origin

Acupuncture Energetics: A Clinical Approach for Physicians by Dr. Joseph Helms

Getting to Know You: A Physician Explains How Acupuncture Helps You Be the Best YOU by Dr. Joseph Helms

Back Talk Doc is brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, with offices in North and South Carolina. To learn more about Dr. Lakhia and treatment options for back and spine issues, go to To schedule an appointment with Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, you can call us at 1-800-344-6716 or visit our website at