This is a technique physical therapists use for the treatment of pain and movement impairments.   The technique uses a "dry" needle (meaning they have no ability to inject or withdraw fluid), which is inserted through the skin into the affected tender nodules within taut bands of muscle. Other terms commonly used to describe dry needling, include trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy. When the “dry” needle is inserted into the specific trigger point, the muscle will undergo a localised contraction known as a ‘twitch’. This twitch is important for getting the therapeutic benefit from dry needling.

Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles, and supported by research. This process 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. Physical therapists wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when dry needling. The sterile needles are disposed of after use.

Dry Needling is used worldwide by manual therapists to treat orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions:

  • Improve joint mobility

  • Reduce muscle tightness

  • Decrease pain and irritation

  • Ease tension and headaches

  • Facilitate return to full functional activities