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Dry Needling Treatment

Dry Needling Treatment

Trigger point Dry Needling, Intramuscular Manual Therapy or simply Dry Needling is one of many clinical tools used at ProActive Physical Therapy to help relieve pain and muscle dysfunction.

It was developed by western medical professionals based on the current understanding of neuromuscular Dry needlingphysiology and neuroscience. Volumes of research have been written on the subject of Dry Needling by several physicians and scientists (Janet Travell, MD, David Simons, MD, Peter Baldry, MD, Karel Lewit, MD, Chan Gunn, MD and Yun-Tao Ma,PhD).

The needles used for Dry Needling are the same needles used in acupuncture, but it must be made clear that the treatment paradigm and the technique is not acupuncture as described by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or practiced by licensed acupuncturists. Acupuncture is an independent alternative medicine profession, which includes its own theoretical structure and techniques. Acupuncture focuses on restoring normal energy flow or Chi/Qi along the TCM Meridians.

All Dry Needling techniques used by physical therapists are based on the background knowledge and skill acquired in manual medicine programs during 3+ years of post-graduate professional training.

Part of a Comprehensive Solution

Dry Needling can be a powerful adjunctive treatment at ProActive Physical Therapy, though it is important to remember that Dry Needling is only one part of the treatment plan.

Physical therapy will also address biomechanical muscle imbalances, postural dysfunctions, muscular flexibility limitation, strength deficits, and swollen or stiff joints. Physical therapy treatment may include: joint mobilization, a carefully designed therapeutic exercise plan, and advanced hands-on therapy techniques, it is in this sense that dry needling becomes an extension of already highly trained hands. This approach will restore a patient’s optimal physical function. A multidimensional treatment approach is paramount for a successful recovery. Singular treatment approaches often only offer temporary relief or fail altogether. Hence the old saying is true, "if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

Is Dry Needling safe?

TJon Davison using dry needlingo receive a license to practice physical therapy, therapists undergo 3+ years of rigorous training in human anatomy,  including cadaver dissection, biomechanics, kinesiology, functional human movement, and orthopedic rehabilitation. In more than two decades of dry needling in the United States, there are no reports of adverse or negative treatment events.  All needles used are sterile, single use.

How Dry Needling improves function and reduces pain:

  • Dry Needling of muscular trigger points causes relaxation through disruption of the motor endplate, breaking the pain-spasm cycle or energy crisis of the trigger point.  There is a “chemical soup” of inflammatory mediators, neuropeptides, cytokines and catecholamines surrounding trigger points. The elicitation of a local twitch response leads to an immediate reduction of these nociceptive (pain propagating) substances.
  • Dry Needling as a non-pharmacologic modality promotes self healing of musculoskeletal tissue by reducing the mechanical and biological stress of the body.  
  • Tiny injuries created by the needle insertion cause a local healing response in the dysfunctional, painful tissue, which restores normal function through the natural healing process including increased blood flow and oxygenation.
  • Dry Needling stimulates neural pathways which blocks pain by disrupting pain messages being sent to the central nervous system. The pain control process occurs by:
  • Opioid suppression at the spinal cord level.
  • The Gate Theory of pain. Activating neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, which contribute to a systemic pain inhibiting effect, and this neurotransmitter response extends the therapeutic benefit to other areas of the body.

Dry Needling, combined with physical therapy treatment, has been shown to help the following conditions:

    1. Acute and chronic tendonitis
    2. Athletic, sports-related, and postural  overuse injuries
    3. Post-surgical pain
    4. Post-traumatic injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and work related injuries
    5. Chronic pain conditions
    6. Headaches and whiplash
    7. Lower back pain

We offer this service at many of our locations:

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1. Simons DG, Travell JG, Simons LS;  Travell & Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual; 2nd ed. 1998; Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.

2. Dommerholt J, Mayoral del Moral O, Grobli C; Trigger Point Dry Needling; J Man Manip Ther 2006, 14:4, E70-E87 (Available online at

3. Cummings TM ,  White AR.  Needling therapies in the management of myofascial trigger point pain:  A systematic review. Arch Phys Med. Rehabil 2001; 82:986-992.

4. Gunn CC, The Gunn Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Intramuscular Stimulation for Myofascial Pain of Radiculopathic Origin. 2nd ed. 1996.  Churchill  Livingstone, New York.

5. Ma YT,

Want to learn more about dry needling?  Contact us, we would be happy help.

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