Dry Needling

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Dry Needling

Dry needling is a treatment technique designed to eliminate trigger points within muscles and other soft tissues. This reduces pain, muscle tension and increases mobility.

What are trigger points?

Trigger points are small knots within muscles that are often tense or sore to touch. They can increase pain, limit motion and decrease functional performance. If untreated, trigger points can get worse over time. 

There are 2 types of trigger points:

Active:  Causes pain and symptoms the patient recognizes and will be reproduced with pressure on the trigger point.
Latent:  Only tender when pressure is put on it, the patient will not recognize this as their pain.

Factors such as trauma, temperature changes and/or poor posture can contribute to the development of latent trigger points. 

Is Dry Needling painful?

For most people, there is little to no discomfort with the insertion of the needle. However, once the needle hits the trigger point, you will experience a “twitch response” which often feels like a quick muscle cramp. Following this technique, muscle soreness can be felt up to 24–48 hours. The application of heat or ice, and drinking plenty of fluids usually reduces the soreness.  

How long does it take for the procedure to work?

Usually, you will see an increase in flexibility of the treated muscle right away. It can take up to two days to see an improvement with your pain. A few sessions may be needed to achieve a pain-free result.  With this type of treatment, the goal is to change the chemical make-up of the muscle in order to improve mobility and to break the pain cycle.

What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?

Many acupuncturists practice under the framework of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). They treat points along the meridian lines where energy blockages can occur. Dry needling is only used to treat muscle issues that appear to contribute directly to a person’s pain and symptoms.

Characteristics of muscles that have trigger points?

  • Local and referred pain
  • Muscles fatigue easily
  • Poor muscle power
  • Delayed recovery from normal activity

Myofascial trigger points are common in muscles that are overused or that have been damaged due to injury.

Are there any side effects?

Occasionally, bruising or post treatment soreness may be experienced. Rare side effects include nausea, dizziness or fatigue. Your physical therapist will advise of any particular risks associated with the area being treated. 

Can everyone have Dry Needling?

Not everyone can have dry needling. If you are pregnant, have cardiac arrhythmias or are allergic to nickel, dry needling is not suitable.

What does Dry Needling treat?


  • Disk and Nerve Problems
  • Neck Pain
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Rotator Cuff
  • Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Upper Back and Shoulder


  • Low Back Pain
  • Herniated or Bulging Disk
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Stenosis
  • Scoliosis


  •  Achilles Tendinitis 
  • Shin Splints 
  • Plantar Fasciitis (Foot Pain)
  •  IT Band Syndrome
  • Hamstring Strain

View our Dry Needling brochure

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