Dry Needling

The Benefits of Dry Needling in Physical Therapy

Dry needling is a specialized technique within the realm of physical therapy, and it is effective in addressing a variety of musculoskeletal issues. This minimally invasive procedure involves the insertion of thin needles into specific trigger points or tight bands of muscles, aiming to alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and enhance overall functional capacity.

Physical Therapists use dry needling as a safe, effective, and efficient treatment technique to release painful hyper-irritable spots within a band of skeletal muscle. By inserting a needle into a dysfunctional tissue, it often leads to a contraction of the muscle which then stimulates a release. This leads to a reduction of pain, improvements in flexibility, and a restoration of normalized movement when combined with corrective exercises.

What Type of Problems Can Be Treated?

Muscle dysfunction can be the primary or secondary contributing factor to many neuromusculoskeletal conditions, which can include:

  • • Repetitive Stress Injuries
  • • Tendonitis or Tendinopathy
  • • Muscle Strains
  • • IT Band Syndrome
  • • Patellofemoral Dysfunction
  • • Plantar Fasciitis
  • • Neck Pain or Headaches
  • • Rotator Cuff Impingement
  • • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • • SI Joint Dysfunction
  • • Sciatica


When muscles become tight or develop trigger points, they can contribute to pain, reduced range of motion, and dysfunction. These issues may affect different areas of the body, from the neck and shoulders to the lower back and extremities.
Common Symptoms:

  • • Muscle Tightness: Persistent tightness or knots in muscles can lead to discomfort and restricted movement.
  • • Pain and Tenderness: Trigger points often cause localized pain and tenderness, which may radiate to surrounding areas.
  • • Reduced Range of Motion: Muscular tightness and trigger points can limit joint mobility, affecting daily activities.
  • • Headaches: Tension in the neck and shoulders can contribute to tension headaches.
  • • Chronic Pain Conditions: Conditions like fibromyalgia may involve widespread musculoskeletal pain and trigger points.


How Physical Therapy Can Help:

Individualized Assessment
Physical therapists conduct a thorough assessment to identify the root causes of musculoskeletal pain, considering factors such as muscle imbalances, joint dysfunction, and movement patterns.

Targeted Dry Needling Interventions
Once the trigger points are identified, physical therapists use dry needling to stimulate the affected muscles. The insertion of the needles helps release tension, improve blood flow, and encourage the body’s natural healing process. This targeted approach aims to alleviate pain and restore optimal muscle function.

Comprehensive Treatment Plans
Physical therapy extends beyond dry needling, incorporating a holistic approach to address the underlying issues contributing to musculoskeletal pain. Therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, education or posture, and ergonomics are integral components of comprehensive treatment plans.

Pain Management and Prevention
Physical therapists work collaboratively with patients to develop strategies for pain management and prevention. This may include home exercise programs, lifestyle modifications, and ongoing monitoring to ensure sustained relief and improved functional outcomes.

Denali Physical Therapy is happy to offer dry needling, a targeted and effective approach to managing musculoskeletal pain. By addressing the root causes of pain and discomfort, we will not only provide relief but also educate our patients on tools to take care of their musculoskeletal health. If you’re experiencing musculoskeletal pain, consider consulting with a physical therapist expert to explore the potential benefits of dry needling.