Dry needling, also known as trigger point dry needling, is a skilled intervention used by physical therapists (where allowed by state law) in which a thin filiform needle penetrates the skin and is used to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissue for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into the muscle. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable.
Dry needling is used with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points to relieve pain, reduce muscle tension, improve range of motion, and normalize muscle function. This can help speed up the patient’s recovery and return to active rehabilitation. It is particularly useful for patients with muscle pain who have tried other treatment modalities such as massage, foam rolling, and stretching without lasting relief. Dry needling is not acupuncture or based in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a modern, science-based intervention for the treatment of pain and dysfunction in musculoskeletal conditions. Dry needling is an advanced practice skill that requires additional training and experience.
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause referred pain, or pain to other parts of the body.
Conditions that Dry Needling can effectively treat:
Neck and Back Pain
Joint Pain and Arthritis