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Dry Needling

Dry Needling: An Effective Technique for Treating Myofascial Pain

Little muscular spasms, or “knots,” may be very annoying and debilitating. When these knots are released, which often involves receiving a massage or practicing other relaxation methods, you may feel like a whole different person.

Physical therapists get the training necessary to identify and treat knots that may form in our muscles.

Dry needling physio is one of the approaches that may be used, and it is a method that has been shown to effectively alleviate localized muscular tension and discomfort with little to no recovery time required.

Physiotherapy dry needling has been shown to increase the range of motion and speed up the recovery process for injured patients. Today at Turning Point Physical Therapy, you will learn about dry needling physical therapy and how it may be used as a therapeutic tool.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling physiotherapy is a method that may be used to treat musculoskeletal discomfort and mobility problems. This method is often used by physical therapists and other skilled healthcare experts to treat myofascial pain.

It is often used as a component of a wider pain treatment approach that may also include other therapies such as exercise, stretching, massage, and so on.

A therapist will treat the underlying myofascial trigger points in your body by inserting tiny, pointed needles through the surface of your skin during this treatment.

The prefix “myo” denotes muscle in the phrase “myofascial.” Your muscles are enveloped in a layer of fascia, which is a delicate, white connective tissue. 

What Specific Kind of Needles Are Employed?

While doing dry needling, a filiform needle with a very fine gauge is used. The needle is inserted beneath the skin, where it then stimulates the myofascial trigger points as well as the underlying muscle and connective tissues.

A physical therapist may target tissues that are beyond their grasp with the needle, which helps them to treat patients more effectively.

While doing dry needling, physical therapists safeguard themselves by using gloves and other personal protection equipment. A medical sharps collector is used to dispose of discarded sterile needles once they have been disinfected.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

When a muscle is overworked, it enters a state of energy crisis in which the muscle fibers do not get an appropriate amount of blood. This causes the muscle to waste away. 

When they do not get the usual blood flow, your muscles do not receive the oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for them to return to their normal resting condition. This prevents your muscles from returning to their normal state.

When this takes place, the tissue in the vicinity of your trigger point will become more acidic. Your nerves have been hypersensitive, which is the cause of the soreness and agony in the region.

The use of a needle to stimulate a trigger point helps to pull normal blood circulation back to the region, which flushes out any toxins and releases stress. The feeling of being pinched may also cause nerve fibers to be stimulated, which in turn causes your brain to produce endorphins, which are your body’s natural painkillers. 

After locating a trigger point, your therapist will puncture your skin and introduce a needle exactly into the spot where it is located.

Doctors may move the needle slightly in different directions in an effort to produce what is known as a “local twitch response,” which is a brief contraction of your muscle. This response might be seen as a positive indicator that your muscle is responding.

After a session of dry needling, some patients report virtually instantaneous improvements in both their level of discomfort and their mobility. For some people, it takes more than one session to do this.

Which Diseases Does it Treat?

Dry needling has the potential to both reduce discomfort and expand a patient’s range of motion. The following are some examples of conditions that dry needling may help treat:

  • Migraine and tension headache
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Postherpetic neuralgia
  • Spinal problems
  • Joint problems
  • Disk difficulties
  • Pelvic ache
  • Whiplash
  • Tendinitis
  • Cramps

Benefits of Dry Needling Therapy

There are several advantages to including dry needling physical therapy in your overall treatment regimen. The method is not costly, and it has a good track record for patient safety. If carried out by a medical professional who is properly qualified, there is little possibility of difficulties occurring.

Trigger points may be released by the use of dry needling, which may help reduce pain and stiffness in the muscles. Your flexibility and range of motion may both improve as a result of releasing your trigger points.

Side Effects of Dry Needling Therapy

The most prevalent dry needling physio side effects include the following:

  • Bruising at or around the location where the catheter was inserted
  • A feeling of discomfort both during and after the treatment
  • Continual bleeding at the place of insertion
  • Stiffness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue

Very few people get serious side effects from dry needling. Your healthcare practitioner runs the risk of causing a pneumothorax if they introduce a needle into the thoracic region incorrectly.

Preparing For the Dry Needling Therapy

Your healthcare practitioner will review your medical history and give you a physical examination before beginning any dry needling therapy. They have to decide whether dry needling is the best treatment option for you.

If they believe you might benefit from the therapy, they will explain how it is administered and address any questions or concerns you might have.

On the day of your treatment, you should wear loose-fitting clothes that are comfortable for you. Put on anything that will make it simple for your healthcare practitioner to get to the treatment location. In such a case, your healthcare practitioner will offer you a covering or robe.

You will be taken to a separate room for the test or to an area that has been partitioned off with curtains in a larger room. You will readjust your clothes as required, and they will position you appropriately for the therapy that is being administered to you.

If you have any questions you can visit our Edmonton, AB dry needling therapy clinic or reach out to us by a phone call.

What Happens During a Dry Needling Physical Therapy?

During a therapy session, the therapist will position you in a posture that is both comfortable and calm. This will enable the therapist to view and reach the region that needs treatment.

In most cases, you will be required to lie down and prop yourself up with pillows in order to maintain a comfortable and stationary posture. For the whole of the treatment, the therapist will keep a close eye on you to ensure that you remain relaxed and at ease.

After the “knot” or trigger point has been located, the therapist will inject the needle carefully into the region that corresponds to it.

The therapist will leave the needle in place for anywhere from thirty seconds to three minutes at a time, doing either dynamic needling, which involves moving the needle, or static needling, which involves leaving the needle in place without moving it around.

Your dry needling therapy should only be performed by a physical therapist who has received proper training. This not only guarantees that you will get as much relief as possible from each session, but it also guarantees that the process will be risk-free.

Does dry needling hurt?

Touching a trigger point will often result in excruciating pain. So, you can feel some discomfort while your provider is trying to locate the trigger point in your body prior to the needling procedure.

During the needling process, you could also experience some pain. People don’t always feel the needle going in since it’s so little, but other times they will feel a prick-like sensation.

Occasionally individuals don’t feel the prick at all. When the needle is inserted into the trigger point, it may be rather painful and elicit a twitch reaction in the patient.

Following that, you could feel some stiffness or pain close to the spot where the insertion was made, but it’s crucial to remain moving and stretch as much as possible.


There are several categories of patients who should not undergo dry needling. Because of the potential for discomfort, medical professionals advise against carrying out the surgery on children less than 12 years old.

Consent will be required from both you and your kid, and before moving further, you should look into alternative choices that are less intrusive.

Those who fall under the following categories should also discuss the procedure with their primary care provider before undergoing dry needling:

  • Pregnant
  • Incapable of comprehending the therapy being administered
  • Have a severe fear of needles (trypanophobia)
  • Improper immune functioning
  • Having recently recovered from surgery
  • Taking blood thinners


Those who suffer from certain musculoskeletal issues may benefit tremendously from the use of dry needling, which is a treatment that is risk-free, causes very moderate discomfort, and often delivers excellent results.

The therapy has been described as a “game-changer” by a great number of patients as a means of significantly enhancing their quality of life. However, before beginning the therapy, you should be sure to discuss it with your primary care physician.

Although it isn’t dangerous, it may be somewhat intrusive. Your healthcare practitioner may suggest beginning with less invasive therapies first.

If you have any questions, you can contact Turning Point Physical Therapy specialists in Edmonton, AB.

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