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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Lantz

Copy of Is Dry Needling Right for Me?

If you're considering physical therapy to address your pain or mobility issues, you may have come across a treatment called dry needling. But what exactly is dry needling, and could it be the solution you've been searching for? Let's delve into what dry needling entails, what conditions it can help with, and whether it might be the right choice for you.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a technique used by physical therapists to treat musculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. Unlike acupuncture, which is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and focuses on restoring the flow of energy or Qi through the body, dry needling is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles. During a dry needling session, thin, solid needles are inserted into specific points in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, or fascia that are causing pain or dysfunction. The needles target trigger points, which are tight bands of muscle tissue that can contribute to pain, decreased range of motion, and impaired function. By inserting the needles into these trigger points, physical therapists aim to elicit a local twitch response, which can help release tension and promote healing in the affected tissues.

What Conditions Can it Be Used For?

These are just a few examples of the many musculoskeletal conditions that can be effectively treated with dry needling. Always consult with a qualified physical therapist to determine the most appropriate treatment approach for your specific condition and needs.

1. Myofascial Pain Syndrome: Characterized by trigger points in muscles that cause localized pain and referred pain in other areas of the body.

2. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder can lead to pain and limited range of motion, which can be addressed with dry needling

3. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis): Pain and inflammation on the outside of the elbow can be relieved by targeting trigger points in the forearm muscles.Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot, can cause heel pain, which can be alleviated with dry needling.

4. Piriformis Syndrome: Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle in the buttocks can lead to sciatica-like symptoms, which can be treated with dry needling. 

5. Low Back Pain: Trigger points in the muscles of the lower back can contribute to chronic low back pain, which may be relieved through dry needling.

6. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee): Pain around the kneecap, often aggravated by activities like running or jumping, can be addressed with dry needling to release tension in the surrounding muscles.

7. Achilles Tendonitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, can be treated with dry needling to reduce pain and improve function.

8. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction: Pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint can be alleviated by targeting trigger points in the jaw muscles with dry needling.

9. Chronic Pain Conditions: Individuals suffering from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome may find relief from their symptoms with regular dry needling sessions.

10. Postural Dysfunction: Poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances and pain. Dry needling can help address these imbalances and promote better alignment and posture.

11. Tension Headaches: Often caused by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, dry needling can help release tight muscles and alleviate headache symptoms.

Is Dry Needling Right for Me?

While dry needling can be highly effective for many individuals, it's essential to consult with a qualified physical therapist to determine if it's the right treatment approach for your specific needs and goals. Our therapists here at RTC will conduct a thorough assessment, including a review of your medical history and a physical examination, to determine whether dry needling is appropriate for you. Additionally, it's essential to have realistic expectations about the outcomes of dry needling. While some individuals experience immediate relief after a single session, others may require multiple treatments to achieve the desired results. Your therapist will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your individual needs and preferences.

In conclusion, if you're dealing with musculoskeletal pain or movement impairments, dry needling may be worth considering as part of your physical therapy treatment plan. By targeting trigger points and promoting muscle relaxation and healing, dry needling can help alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance your overall quality of life. However, it's crucial to discuss your options with a qualified physical therapist to determine whether dry needling is the right choice for you. Remember, your journey to optimal health and wellness is unique to you, and your therapist is there to guide and support you every step of the way.


If you are dealing with pain, the PTs at Restorative Therapy Co are here to help! Please give us a call at 757-578-2958 to set up an appointment or head on over to our website. There, you will learn more about the team, and services offered as well as a list of insurances we currently accept and affordable cash rates. Dry needling can be offered as part of your PT treatment during your 1:1 60 min PT session or separately during a 30 min dry needling only appointment.

Hope to see you soon!

Contributed by Britni Maher, PT, DPT, MTC, CMTPT

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