Table of Contents:

What Is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is also known as “trigger point” dry needling and intramuscular stimulation (IMS). It’s a therapy that’s shown to be safe, effective and efficient.

  • Releases trigger points in the muscles and tendons of your body
  • Restores the ability to do daily activities without feeling tired or drained

An involuntary spinal cord reaction is produced by repeatedly manipulating a “dry” solid filament needle placed near the trigger point. This is what’s known as dry needling. This leads to prolonged relaxation for hyperactive (tight) muscles, whereas it activates shorter bands of muscle fibres for weak muscles. Trigger point deactivation may provide instant relief from symptoms, allowing the therapist to begin training the muscles to function within their newly acquired, pain-free range of motion right away.

What is a Trigger Point?

Tight bands of muscle in one muscle group are known as trigger points. Touching a trigger point may induce pain in other areas of the body because trigger points are sensitive.

Is There A Difference In The Type Of Needles Used?

A very tiny, filiform needle is used in dry needling to target myofascial trigger points as well as underlying muscles and connective tissues under the skin. A physical therapist may use the needle to treat areas that are difficult to reach by hand.

When doing dry needling, physical therapists follow the Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings, and OSHA regulations by using gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and gowns. Medical sharps collectors are used to dispose of sterile needles.

Dry Needling: What Is It Good For?

Most of the time, physical therapists will utilize dry needling in conjunction with other techniques. According to preliminary studies, dry needling improves pain management, decreases muscular tension, and normalizes motor endplate dysfunctions (the locations where nerve impulses are conveyed to muscles). As a result, the patient will be able to return to active rehabilitation sooner.

Anatomical and therapeutic treatment of the body are taught to physical therapists as part of their entry-level training. Physical therapists who conduct dry needling have further training and education beyond their undergraduate degrees. Always inquire about the expertise and education of a physical therapist before scheduling a consultation for dry needling therapy.

Advantages Of Dry Needling

Some people report relief from muscle pain and stiffness after using dry needling. Easing the trigger points may also help with flexibility and range of motion by reducing tension in the muscles. Sports injuries, muscular discomfort, and even fibromyalgia symptoms benefit greatly from this technique.

Even while there aren’t any standards for safe, dry needling procedures right now, that will change as more study is done on the topic of dry needling.

Dry Needling Therapy in Practice

Using dry needling as a treatment has been used for a long time all over the world. Most places recognize it as a therapy for a variety of illnesses, including the following:

  • Injuries, both short-term and long-term
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the neck and back
  • Tendinitis spasms of the muscles
  • Sciatica
  • Discomfort in both the hips and the knees
  • Strains and tears in the muscles
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Soreness in the elbow
  • PPS (pain in the knee for runners)
  • Injuries caused by repeated use

With dry needling, physical therapists may target deep tissues that are out of reach with surface touch. Pain may be relieved, and range of motion increased, using filiform needles and trigger point release or inactivation by therapists.

Dry needling may help manage discomfort, decrease muscular tension and rectify dysfunctions of the motor endplates.

This method has helped millions of people for thousands of years, regardless of how you describe it. It’s a tried-and-true method for treating pain without the use of drugs.

For more information, visit our Fraser Life Physiotherapy section on dry needling at