Dry Needling Therapy

Dry needling (Myofascial Trigger Point Dry Needling) is the use of either solid filiform needles (also referred to as acupuncture needles) or hollow-core hypodermicneedles for therapy of muscle pain, including pain related to myofascial pain syndrome.


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What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use (where allowed by state law) to treat myofascial pain. The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle, known as trigger points. Other terms commonly used to describe dry needling, include trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy. Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles, and supported by research.

Is Dry Needling Safe?

Dry needling is a very safe treatment. In the clinic we are trained in using a ‘clean’ technique, and only individually packaged, single use, sterile needles are used. The needles are very fine (.16-.30mm), and very rarely does any bleeding or bruising occur at the insertion site.

Many clients report some soreness in the treated area and referral zone lasting from a few hours to two days. Side effects are very rare but when they occur, the most frequent and the most serious is that of a pneumothorax. This is where a needle pierces the lung leading to a full or partial collapse. This happens mostly when a needle is inserted into the Trapezius muscle in a certain way and too deeply – generally due to poor practitioner technique. Many physiotherapists will not dry needle muscles of the thorax that may be deep and close to the inflated lung, but most physios have a deep understanding of the relevant anatomy and dry needling technique so the practice is very safe.