Dry Needling: A Safe and Effective Treatment

Dry needling is an effective tool that is used to treat a variety of neuromusculoskeletal pain conditions. This technique utilizes thin filiform needles that penetrate the skin in order to affect a change in the underlying tissues (muscles, tendons, perineural tissue). Dry needling produces biochemical, biomechanical, endocrinological, and neurovascular changes in the body that results in decreased pain and disability.

The first thing most patients want to know: does it hurt? The needles are very thin and similar to those used in acupuncture. Some patients can barely feel them; others will notice a slight discomfort especially if there is tension in the muscle being treated. This tension is what the needling helps to relieve. Depending on your condition you may feel relief right away after treatment; others may notice a muscle ache or soreness a day or two later similar to what you feel after exercise.

Different types of dry needling procedures may be performed depending on the area and condition treated, and the proposed outcomes of the treatment. For examples: the therapist may elect to use one needle to target a myofascial trigger point, and take the needle out after a trigger point release is achieved; the therapist may use multiple needles, and leave the needles in from 10-20 minutes; the therapist may elect to use electrical stimulation on the needles.

Dry needling with e-stim may assist with the healing process

Common conditions treated with dry needling include: low back pain, headaches, TMJ, elbow tendonitis, knee osteoarthritis, shoulder pain, and plantar fasciitis. Dry needling can produce immediate effects to relieve pain and dysfunction. It has been shown to be effective in combination with a comprehensive physical therapy treatment plan.

Many of our clinicians are trained in dry needling and use it all the time to treat pain and assist in the healing process. If you are suffering from pain and dysfunction, and are interested in trying dry needling, please contact us today!

Butts, R et al. Myofascial Pain and Treatment. Dry needling strategies for musculoskeletal conditions: Do the number of needles and needle retention time matter? A narrative literature review. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2021; 26: 353-363.
Butts, et al. Peripheral and Spinal Mechanisms of Pain and Dry Needling Mediated Analgesia: A Clinical Resource Guide for Health Care Professionals. The International Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2016; 4 (2): 1-18.
Dunning, et al. Dry needling and upper cervical spinal manipulation in patients with temporomandibular disorder: a multicenter randomized clinical trial. Cranio®: The Journal of Craniomandibular and Sleep Practice. 2022; 1-14.