Dry Needling

Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is an effective treatment technique utilized in conjunction with other physical therapy interventions to inactivate myofascial trigger points and the pain and dysfunction they cause. Trigger points are hyperirritable spots within a taut band of skeletal muscle fibers which can produce local and/or referred pain. Dry needling involves the use of a very fine solid filament sterile needle which is inserted into the skin and directly into the myofascial trigger point. The needle is repetitively moved without completely withdrawing it to inactivate the trigger point. While dry needling uses the same type of needles as used in Acupuncture, the treatment for dry needling is based solely on modern physiology, neurology, and biomechanics, rather than the ancient Traditional Chinese/Asian Theory of the energy, “Chi”.

What to expect:
Most patients do not feel the insertion of the needle, but the local twitch response elicits a very brief (less than one second) irritable response. You may feel a cramping sensation, soreness following the procedure lasting a few hours to a day, and possible bruising.

What type of problems can be treated with dry needling?
Dry needling can be used for a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Muscles are thought to be a primary contributing factor to the symptoms. Such conditions include, but are not limited to chronic or acute neck and back pain, overuse injuries, shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headaches (migraines and tension-type headaches), jaw pain, buttock pain and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness/spasms), non-cardiac chest pain, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The treatment of muscles has the greatest effect on reducing pain mechanisms in the nervous system.


Andrew Casey, DPT

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy