What is Dry Needling?

What Is Dry Needling?

According to American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), our goal as physical therapists “is to promote the patient’s ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability.” We have a host of tools at our disposal to accomplish this goal. One tool you may not be aware of is a technique called dry needling. Dry needling is when your physical therapist inserts a small needle through your skin into carefully selected muscles in order to help relieve pain. It’s called dry needling because nothing is injected through the needle.

It sounds counterintuitive, poking people with needles to assuage pain, but it’s actually an effective technique, and it isn’t nearly as scary or painful as it sounds.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

Dry needling trigger points

Scientists still don’t completely understand how dry needling works. But according to therapist Tim Flynn in an APTA article, “a growing body of evidence confirms that it does work, particularly at trigger points.”

Myofascial trigger points are very tender areas within the muscle. They’re similar to a bad knot and can result in pain and tightness locally. But they can also cause referred pain in other parts of the body. Active trigger points cause constant pain while latent trigger points are only painful when manipulated. These parts may seem unrelated to the untrained eye, but in reality, the entire muscular system is connected.

One of the ways therapists can use dry needling is to feel around with the needle for tight spots and monitor for “twitch responses.” These are cramp-like reactions either in the muscle being needled or in an area where a patient has been feeling referred pain. This can help us discover trigger point connections and where exactly a problem lies. Scientists believe that this twitch response is part of the reason dry needling helps the body heal and reduces discomfort.

Dynamic Physical Therapy

Our goal at Dynamic Physical Therapy is to make each patient feel unique.   We provide genuine personal care, one-on-one treatment and individual attention while delivering truly manual, hands-on physical therapy techniques.

If you are in pain and would like to get your life back on track, give us a call.  Experience the Dynamic difference!

  • Westover: (304) 225-5222
  • Morgantown: (304) 598-2212
  • Sabraton: (304) 225-0910


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Thanks for reading,

Lincoln Kinkade


By | 2017-05-09T12:30:22-04:00 March 30th, 2016|General Physical Therapy, Sports Injuries|0 Comments