What Is Dry Needling In Physical Therapy

Berry Mathew

What Is Dry Needling In Physical Therapy

You may be familiar with a therapy known as dry needling, and you might be curious about what precisely it is and whether or not it is something that would be appropriate for you.

Dry needling is a safe, mildly uncomfortable, and frequently useful method for patients presenting with various musculoskeletal presentations, despite its scary-sounding name.

Physical therapists who have completed the necessary training and certification in dry needling are the only healthcare providers who should provide the therapy.

Neuromusculoskeletal discomfort and mobility limitations may be treated by inserting a small monofilament needle beneath the skin and stimulating trigger points in the underlying muscle.

What is a Trigger Point?

Trigger points are tight bands of muscle found inside larger muscular groups. The area around a trigger point may be very painful. When a trigger point is touched, it may cause pain to radiate to other areas.

Which Needles Are Used and Why?

In dry needling, the needle is very fine and filiform. Myofascial trigger points, as well as the underlying muscle and connective tissues, are stimulated as the needle is inserted beneath the skin.

With this needle, a physical therapist may reach deeper into the body to treat areas they can’t normally access.

When doing dry needling, physiotherapists protect themselves with gloves and other safety gear. Needles that have been used are disposed of away in a special container for medical sharps.

In what ways might dry needling help with pain?

Exercise, manual therapy, heat therapy, and patient education are common components of treatment plans that may also involve dry needling. Dry needling is a technique used to alleviate pain and restore mobility by loosening tight muscles and breaking up scar tissue.

It’s possible that dry needling might help with the following:

  • Symptoms of joint distress
  • Problems with discs
  • Tendinitis
  • Primarily, tension, and migraine headaches
  • Disorders of the jaw and mouth
  • Whiplash
  • Repetitive motion disorders (like carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Discomfort in the backbone
  • Stomach ache
  • Nighttime cramps
  • Phantom pain
  • Pain after a herpes outbreak is known as postherpetic neuralgia (pain left behind by shingles)

How Effective Is Dry Needling?

Muscle structure, biochemistry, and electricity may all benefit from dry needling. It improves the muscle’s performance and makes it less likely that it will be injured, resulting in less downtime.

These outcomes allow for rapid and substantial improvements in musculoskeletal injury symptoms such as pain, mobility, and function.

Not only are the outcomes spectacular, but they also endure far longer than those achieved by the vast majority of other treatments for treating soft tissue disorders.

Keep in mind that this device is used in conjunction with a wide variety of other Edmonton physical therapy procedures and practices. The ultimate objective is to improve mobility and provide you with the tools to maintain that mobility.

In other words, as your rehabilitation progresses, you will notice that you are performing less needling and more exercise prescription, strengthening, and mobility training.

Methods of Operation

Patients with musculoskeletal disorders have reported rapid improvements in pressure pain threshold, range of motion, muscle tone, and discomfort after receiving dry needling. Some of the possible methods of action are as follows:

Blood Flow Alterations

Taut bands of muscle at trigger points may restrict blood flow and reduce oxygen levels in the surrounding tissue if the contraction continues for too long.

To improve blood flow and oxygenation to muscles, dry needling produces vasodialation of the tiny blood vessels.

Neurological effects:

It is possible that dry needling reduces central and peripheral sensitivity to pain by eliciting local and central neurological responses to reestablish hemostasis at the location of the trigger point.

To Respond to a Local Twitch:

By stimulating the spinal reflex ganglia, dry needling may cause a localized contraction of the targeted muscles. Mechanoreceptors, such as A Beta fibers, may be activated locally by a twitch response, causing a change in muscle fiber length and tension.

It has been discovered that dry-needling the distal MTrP may relieve pain in the proximal MTrP, a phenomenon known as a remote effect. There is a lack of consensus in the literature on what constitutes proof of the contralateral effect.

Does dry needling have any adverse effects?

The majority of negative reactions have been mild, and some examples are:

  • Hurting yourself while getting therapy or afterward
  • The puncture wound is bleeding profusely
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Bruising

Major organ puncture, such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) from a needle piercing the lung, is an uncommon complication of needle insertion errors.


If you are experiencing discomfort or limited range of motion due to neuromuscular dysfunction, dry needling may be able to help. As part of the treatment, a short, solid needle is introduced through the skin and into trigger points in the muscle.

The purpose of this treatment is to decrease local or referred discomfort, increase mobility, or both. Dry needling is a modality that may enhance a more all-encompassing therapy strategy.

After receiving therapy, many patients experience instant pain relief and a marked increase in their ability to move and concentrate. Get in touch with Turning Point Physical Therapy to learn how they can reduce your discomfort and improve your range of motion with Dry Needling in Edmonton