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How Dry Needling Therapy Can Help Chronic Pain

A Guide to Chronic Pain and the Benefits of Dry Needling


Dry needling is a technique that physical therapists use to treat pain and movement impairments. A dry needle, which is a needle without medication or injection, is inserted into areas of the muscle through the skin. This technique is also commonly known as trigger point dry needling or intramuscular manual therapy.

Trigger points are taut bands of muscle that can be painful to the touch. They are commonly found in larger muscle groups and can cause pain in other parts of the body when touched. Trigger points can be treated with physical therapy, dry needling, and other methods.

It’s important to note that dry needling is not acupuncture. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. On the other hand, dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles supported by research.

If you’re experiencing pain or movement impairments, dry needling may be a treatment option worth considering. Discuss it with your physical therapist to see if it’s right for you.


When it comes to physical therapy, dry needling is often one technique that’s part of a larger treatment plan. The reason? Dry needling can help release or inactivate trigger points to relieve pain or improve the range of motion.

What’s more, research supports that dry needling helps reduce pain. Research indicates that this technique reduces muscle tension and normalizes the functionality of the motor end plates. This is where the body’s nerve impulses transmit to muscles.

Dry needling can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation. There are many reasons why your physical therapist may recommend dry needling as part of your treatment plan. This technique can help relieve pain, reduce muscle tension, and normalize dysfunctions of the motor end plates. This can all help speed up your return to active rehabilitation.

Dry needling is a safe and effective way to treat many different conditions. If you have any questions about whether dry needling is right for you, be sure to ask us!


Trigger points are taut bands of muscle that can be painful to the touch. They are commonly found in larger muscle groups and can cause pain in other parts of the body when touched. Trigger points can be treated with physical therapy, dry needling, and other methods.

Dry needling involves a thin needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying trigger points, as well as muscular and connective tissues. 

During dry needling, our physical therapists wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment.


The needles used in dry needling are thin, sterile disposable needles that come in various lengths. The choice of needle size and length depends on the depth of the trigger point within the tissue and the dry needling technique used.

Superficial dry needling involves inserting a needle at a depth of up to 10 mm into the subcutaneous tissue. This may be combined with manipulation of the needle.

The needles used in dry needling are the same as those used in acupuncture. They are solid, filiform needles that are inserted into the skin.

The length of time the needle is left in place depends on the severity of the pain. The needle may only be inserted for a few seconds for lower pain levels. The needles can be left inserted for several minutes for deeper pain.

Different types of needles can be used in dry needling, depending on the specific condition being treated. The most common type of needle is a thin, solid needle that is inserted into the muscle.


Dry needling is a type of physical therapy that involves using needles to stimulate muscle trigger points. This technique is effective in treating various types of chronic pain, including:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial pain syndrome

One of the most common problems that dry needling can help with is joint pain. This can include both disk problems and tendinitis. Dry needling can also help with migraines, tension headaches, and jaw and mouth disorders such as TMJ Dysfunction. Whiplash and other repetitive motion disorders can also be helped with this therapy. Finally, dry needling can be used to treat spinal problems.

If you are suffering from any chronic pain conditions, dry needling may be an effective treatment option. Be sure to discuss it with your physical therapist to see if it is right for you.


The number of dry needling treatments required to relieve chronic pain will vary from patient to patient. Some patients may find relief after only one treatment, while others may require multiple sessions coupled with complementary treatments such as manual therapy, stretching, therapeutic exercise, and massage therapy. There may also be some muscle soreness in the areas treated for one or two days after the treatment. Patients need to keep the muscles moving to help facilitate recovery.


Many benefits come with dry needling therapy, including pain relief, improved range of motion, and reduced inflammation.

Dry needling effectively reduces pain in specific areas of the body by targeting trigger points. This can be especially helpful for those suffering from shoulder or neck pain.

The therapist will insert needles into detected trigger points, which relieves tension, chemicals, and pressure in the muscles that have caused the pain. This can lead to an improved range of motion and immediate pain relief.

Reducing inflammation is another key benefit of dry needling therapy. Inflammation can often be the root cause of pain, so by reducing it through dry needling, you can significantly reduce your pain levels.

Here are some of the top benefits of dry needling therapy:

1. Relief from Pain

Dry needling therapy can effectively treat various types of pain, including headaches, back pain, neck pain, and pain associated with injuries. The needles used in this therapy helps to release muscle tension and provide relief from pain.

2. Improved Range of Motion

Another benefit of dry needling therapy is improved range of motion. This therapy can help to loosen tight muscles and increase flexibility. This can benefit athletes or anyone who wants to improve their range of motion.

3. Reduced Muscle Tension

Dry needling therapy can also help to reduce muscle tension. This therapy can help to relax muscles and reduce stress. This can be beneficial for people who suffer from conditions such as anxiety or depression.

4. Increased Blood Flow

The needles used in dry needling therapy can also help to increase blood flow to the treated area. This increased blood flow can help to speed up the healing process and provide other benefits, such as reduced inflammation.

5. Increased Relaxation

Dry needling therapy can also help to increase relaxation. This therapy can help to calm the nervous system and promote a sense of well-being. This can be beneficial for people who suffer from conditions such as anxiety or depression.

6. Pain Relief

One of the most common reasons why people undergo dry needling therapy is for pain relief. This therapy can help to relieve pain by releasing muscular tension and increasing blood flow to the area.

7. Reduced Inflammation

The increased blood flow from dry needling therapy can also help reduce inflammation. This can be beneficial for people who suffer from conditions such as arthritis or tendinitis.

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We understand the extent to which everyday pain issues can limit you and impact the way that you feel about yourself and your body. We specialize in the things that are talked about the least, but often impact us the most.


Let’s get you feeling better, starting with your very first visit.

Millions of people across the United States live with spine pain. If you’re like them, you’ve tried everything, and now you’ve accepted pain as part of your daily life. But each day it has a negative effect on your health, your work, your family, your hobbies, and your ability to simply enjoy everyday life.
At MS Physical Therapy, we believe you shouldn’t have to go one more day accepting your pain or the limitations it puts on your life. That’s why, starting with your very first visit, our licensed and skilled therapists develop a hands-on, personalized treatment plan to accelerate your path to a pain-free life.

We look forward to working with you and helping you feel empowered and strong.

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