What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a technique which uses a thin filament needle in a targeted muscles to increase flexibility, improve blood flow, decrease pain, and improve the overall healing process.

Dry needling focuses around releasing and remodeling trigger points that are responsible for causing muscular and fascial pain.

Does Dry Needling hurt?

Everyone has varying responses to dry needling. Some people enjoy the technique while others don’t. When performed properly, dry needling will cause a muscle twitch-response that can be uncomfortable for a very short period of time. Most people will report muscle soreness after dry needling that can last for 1-2 days on average.

  • Acupuncture vs. Dry Needling? 
  • What is referred pain?
  • Does Dry Needling work?
  • How quickly should I feel results with Dry Needling? 
  • Is Dry Needling Painful? 
  • Dry Needling is NEVER the only treatment needed 
Acupuncture vs. Dry Needling? 

While acupuncture and dry needling use the same type of needle, the technique is different. Acupuncture focuses on what are called meridians. Furthermore, acupuncturists will typically uses multiple needles at any one time and will allow the needle to rest in the muscle for a period of time before removing entirely. Acupuncturists generally treat a variety of symptoms outside of pain.

Dry needling focuses around finding the trigger points located within the muscle that are contributing to the underlying pain. It is a more direct approach than acupuncture. We find dry needling to work best for referred pain.

What is referred pain?

Referred pain is when pain is felt at a site that is different from where the source of the pain is occurring. For example, knee pain that is coming from the hip. Hip pain coming from the back. Or, carpal tunnel symptoms coming from the shoulder.

Does Dry Needling work?

Dry needling should always be used in combination with exercise and movement. In our experience, dry needling can really help with pain relief. However, the underlying movement dysfunctions must be addressed otherwise you run the risk of the pain returning because the root problem is still present. In other words, dry needling can be a kick start to improved pain and function. But it’s never the answer for true long-term results.

How quickly should I feel results with Dry Needling? 

Many people will feel improvement with pain the same day as receiving a dry needling treatment. Occasionally, dry needling will need to be performed 1-3 times before improvement in pain is felt.

Is Dry Needling Painful? 

Most people do feel a bit of discomfort with dry needling. The discomfort will ease in 1-3 days.

Dry Needling is NEVER the only treatment needed 

Your physical therapist should perform dry needling in combination with exercise. Dry needling can temporarily improve pain and flexibility. However, if the underlying problem which caused the pain to begin with isn't corrected, the pain will come back.

Wondering if our physical therapy clinic is the right approach for your problem?

Frequently Asked Questions

What does dry needling do for you?

How long does dry needling relief last?

Is dry needling worth it?

How often is dry needling done?

Dry needling really helps to relieve muscular pain and it generally works fast. It's not going to fix the root problem causing the pain but it can diminish pain.

Dry needling should be administered in conjunction with exercises that work to improve mobility and strength in the area that are stiff and weak.

Similar to a cortisone shot, the pain will come back if the problem isn't addressed.

When performed correctly the pain can improve for days to weeks. This can depend upon many factors such as:

How long has the pain been a problem? Chronic pain is going to take longer to fix.

How many areas are contributing to the pain? We typically see 2-3 areas that need to be addressed prior to achieving a long-term solution.

Was the needle placed in the correct muscle? Nearly always the area where you feel the pain is not the area where the needle needs to be used. If the needle isn't used in the correct area then of course it won't help the pain.

Lastly, dry needling should always be performed in adjunct with exercises that loosen the stiff joints and strengthen the weak joints. Dry needling should be viewed as a technique that can help with pain relief, not fix the underlying problem causing the pain.

We see fantastic results for people who suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Knee pain
  • Front of hip/groin pain
  • Neck pain

Results haven't been so great for:

  • Sciatica
  • Jaw pain
  • Lower back pain

Our clinic has been using dry needling for years now and has learned when it's necessary and when it's not.

If used, we generally use it for 1-3 treatments in one-week intervals. If needling needs to be performed more than 3 weeks then it's likely that the exercises you should be performing in conjunction with dry needling are either wrong, or they aren't being performed enough.

Medical Disclaimer:

All information on this website is intended for instruction and informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result. Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website.