Dry Needling

Written By: Rachel Grant, MScPT, B.Kin.

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is using a thin filiform needle inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle. Your therapist may use the needle to help with the management of muscular pain, trigger points and movement
impairments. Dry needling helps to

dissipate inflammatory chemicals, the same ones which can lead to persistent pain. Additionally dry needling helps to release trigger points so your muscle can perform optimally and provides a neurological reset to help with your pain and also muscle function.

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a hyperirritable spot in skeletal muscle that is often sensitive to pressure or touch and can feel like a taut band. What you can feel with a trigger point is local or referred pain (pain felt elsewhere away from the initial injury), or even numbness.

Dry Needling Techniques:

There are different techniques used by our practitioners at AST. These can include dynamic dry needling where the therapist will manipulate the needle to get a desired response. These include “pistoning,” “rolling”, or using an electrical machine. When your therapist uses these techniques you may feel a twitch within the muscle being treated followed by a deep ache. This subsides shortly after. Additionally, static techniques can also be used with the dry needle. This is where the needle will not move but stay in the muscle for a certain period of time.


What injuries or conditions are suitable for dry needling? This list is not extensive.

●  Back or neck pain

●  Elbow tendonitis - also commonly known as tennis or golfer’s elbow

●  Headaches and migraines

●  Shin splints

●  Shoulder injuries

●  TMJ and jaw disorders

●  Whiplash disorders

●  Patellofemoral pain

Dry needling is usually just one component in a larger pain management program. It may be accompanied by exercise, soft tissue and hands-on manual therapy, and modalities such as heat or ice. Discuss with your practitioner if dry needling would be beneficial for you! If you are new to the clinic please give us a call to book in with a member of our team today.

*The content contained in this blog is provided for general information purposes only. The content is general suggestions and not intended to replace the services of a trained physician, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.