Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use to treat myofascial pain, often as part of a broader therapeutic plan. Using fine needles inserted through the skin, it is used to stimulate the healing process of soft tissues (muscle trigger points, fascia, tendons and ligaments).
Other terms commonly used to describe the practice include trigger point dry needling and intramuscular manual therapy.
It is not acupuncture, which is based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Although it uses the same filament-like needles, dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles.
Dry needling, combined with other treatment techniques including movement-based therapy, can help decrease pain and increase range of motion and function. Your physical therapist can perform a thorough evaluation to help determine if you are a good candidate for dry needling as part of your therapy.
Dry needling can be used to treat these conditions and others:
- Neck/back pain
- Shoulder and knee pain
- Tennis/golfer’s elbow
- Hip and gluteal pain
- Achilles tendonitis/tendonosis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Muscular strains/ligament sprains
- Chronic pain
- Pelvic pain
- Sports-related pain