Dry Needling

Dry Needling: What You Should Know

Physical therapists use dry needling with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a treatment that involves inserting a very small needle into an area of muscle tension/pain or trigger point to help that muscle relax, thereby also reducing pain and improving function.

The term dry needling refers to the fact that there is no solution being injected into the muscle and therefore the needle is “dry.&rdquo

What is a Trigger Point?

A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.

What Kind of Needles Are Used?

Dry needling involves a thin filiform needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable.

Who can benefit from dry needling?

Dry needling can be beneficial in many conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Muscle tension/pain
  • Joint pain
  • Myofascial pain syndrome/chronic pain conditions

Who should not receive dry needling?

Dry needling is not recommended in the following situations:

  • Active infection
  • Active cancer
  • Systemic inflammatory conditions
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Bleeding disorders or patients taking anti-coagulants
  • Lymphedema
  • Surgery in the past 8 weeks
  • Uncontrolled seizures
  • Allergy to metal
  • Multiple Sclerosis in an active state
  • Fear of Needles
  • Unable or unwilling to provide consent to treatment

Dry needling can be included in your physical therapy treatment, or done as a private pay service.  If you have further questions about dry needling treatment, please contact your nearest Sports Plus or Lift Therapy Clinic location. We look forward to serving you!


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West Tennessee Healthcare (WTH) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, Limited English Proficiency or sex, including discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping or pregnancy in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by WTH directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which WTH arranges to carry out its programs and activities.

For further information about this policy, contact Amy Garner (731) 541-9914.