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  • Daulton Physical Therapy and Fitness

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is used at Daulton Physical Therapy as an adjunct treatment for chronic pain and muscle/joint stiffness. In this technique, a sterile needle is used to deactivate myofascial trigger points. A trigger point is a hyperirritable spot in a muscle, associated with a palpable nodule in the restricted area. When irritated, trigger points may give rise to characteristic pain and tenderness patterns. The technique is called “dry” needling because there is no medication or drug injected during the treatment. Its purpose is to release muscle bands which have become shortened due to an imbalance in the nervous system. It is similar to acupuncture because the same type of needle is used. However it varies from acupuncture because of different needle locations and depths, and differing treatment philosophies. Dry needling promotes local blood flow to help balance spinal reflexes and pathways, which nicely complements the neurological impacts of the Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) technique.


When you get dry needled, you may feel a small tap initially as the needle meets the skin. From there, two main techniques are utilized. One needling technique is called “coning” or “pistoning,” in which the needle is brought in and out of the muscle at different angles, effectively releasing the trigger point. Another technique involves keeping the needle in the muscle statically, while twisting it periodically to effectively release the fascial fibers of the trigger point. With both techniques, you can expect to feel some achiness, soreness, or even mild twitches of the muscle. This is normal, and it is because the trigger points are being released. Because of this, you may also experience an increase in pain or soreness for 1-2 days following the treatment, with an improvement in the overall pain state thereafter. This is due to the overall muscle and nervous system being reset, which helps support healing in the body.


Ask your physical therapist if you would be a good candidate for dry needling. If you would like to learn more, call to schedule an appointment at Daulton Physical Therapy!



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