Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a neurophysiological evidence-based treatment technique used by physical therapists to treat myofascial pain. Without using any medication, a “dry needle” is inserted into areas of the muscle known as trigger points (taut bands of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group). Trigger points can be tender to the touch and can refer pain to distant parts of the body. Physical therapists utilize dry needling with the goal of releasing/inactivating the trigger points and relieving pain. Preliminary research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.

Numerous terms have been used in conjunction with dry needling. Some of the more common terms include trigger point manual therapy, trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy. Dry Needling is not acupuncture and has no relationship with Oriental Medicine.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

Desensitize supersensitive structures and restore function through:

  • Obtaining local twitch response (LTR)
  • Releasing muscle shortening
  • Removing source of irritation (paraspinally and peripherally)
  • Promote healing (increase circulation and delivery of O2)
  • Mechanical, Chemical/Cellular, and Electrophysiological effects:
    • Mechanical: a)disrupt motor end plate; b)restoration of sarcomere length; c)inhibition of antagonistic muscles
    • Chemical/Cellular: a)restore levels of bradykinin, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), substance P, H+, and others; b)promotes normal acetyl-choline (AcH) levels; c)may stimulate platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) causing a healing response
    • Electrophysiological: normalization of AcH quiets spontaneous electrical activity (SEA)

What to Expect

Dry Needling has been practiced by physical therapists for over 20 years with minimal numbers of adverse effects reported. The most common side effects include post-needling soreness, fatigue, and minor hematomas. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask your physical therapist.

What Patients are Saying About Dry Needling

Dude, I don't know what voodoo magic you worked yesterday but this morning I have zero pain in the knee. I wanted to let you know about the needling from yesterday - I went to the gym after I left and did the hip exercises. Typically after 10 on either side I feel like I am at muscle failure. Yesterday on the right side I was able to do 25 no problem - thought that was kind of interesting.

AP (recreational runner/cyclist)

So far so good…my back is great and I’m running again (first time I’ve been able to train regularly in 4 months). I would recommend the dry needling treatment to anyone

JC (NCAA Division 1 middle distance runner)

Just wanted to give you some feedback with regards to the dry needling…I went home a little sore that evening. I didn't take any NSAIDS however, but I did apply an ice pack for approximately 20 min. The next day I ran 12 miles at a "normal" pace before I went on vacation…in short, I have not experienced any more pain or discomfort for almost 2 weeks!!! Looks like I’m on schedule for the ½ marathon next weekend…and this report after the race…I'm still celebrating my time. I definitely did a lot better than I expected - finished almost 11 minutes faster compared to the same race last year. Thanks for helping me out. I could not have done it without you. My leg still feels great.

CF (runner training for 1st marathon – completing the ½ as training run 3wks out)

I opted for a softer surface for my 19 miles on Saturday - my calf held up great! I felt it twinge a couple of times, but that was it. No swelling or extra soreness afterwards! I think Dry Needling is Da Bomb! Thank you! Best long run I have had in months!

CP (runner preparing for Boston Marathon)

I think I’m addicted…it really helps me keep training. I’m usually sore for the rest of the day, but it’s a good feeling because the next day on the track it feels fine and I’m able to push off the Achilles without pain. It’s definitely helping keep me going in an Olympic year.

SB (professional runner - middle distance)

After dealing with pretty bad ankle sprain for a week, I came into Mick for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. After having dry needling done once before on my shoulder with great results I was relieved when after looking at my ankle Mick chose to go with it again. I had treatment done on a Thursday, exactly a week after my initial injury. Throughout that previous week I had rested, iced, taped, and done stabilization exercises with little-to-no improvement. After one treatment session with Mick I was able to not only play in my game on Saturday, but do so with NO pain and NO tape on my ankle. I knew it would improve but it didn't set in until after my game that just one week earlier even walking up and down stairs was extremely painful…yet here I was playing rugby. Not only able to sustain the cuts and running from rugby, but the fact it’s my plant foot from kicking and it could take that extra force. I'm now one week after treatment with none of the symptoms of my sprain having come back.

SA (Men’s Super League Rugby player)

Just an update on the Achilles…It’s doing well today. I am poking at it right now and the pain has really decreased. It’s more of a dull achiness when I touch it as opposed to sharp. My run yesterday was OK - it felt really good for 5 miles…the calf is still tight, and I want to limp, but when I make myself walk normal I don't have pain.

HD (professional runner – middle distance)

I have had a little time to reflect about the dry needling treatment that I underwent Friday. WHEN SHOULD I COME AGAIN! I was sore all of Friday - worse than if I had a really deep massage or had worked out way too hard. I ran almost 4 miles at an easy pace…it was still sore on the whole but not as sore at "The Spot" on the Achilles. Sat morning it felt a lot better, as far as the soreness. Sunday it felt pretty good and I ran 6.15 miles @ tempo pace - most importantly when I was running, and when I finished, there was very little pain. Today it felt pretty good, I felt stronger during my warm up, and so I decided to run as fast as I could for 4 miles (time trial). The Achilles still hurt a bit, but again not as bad as I have grown accustom. My stride felt good and strong and I was fast. Whatever it was it felt pretty good.

JW (local competitive runner, ex-collegiate gymnast)

site design by keith gemeinhart