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Dry Needling Physiotherapy

Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use (where allowed by state law) to treat myofascial pain. The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle, known as trigger points.


Trigger point dry needling is a physical therapy technique that decreases pain in your muscles. Pivot Physical Therapy’s trained physical therapists adhere to a western medicine approach and are not performing acupuncture. Our goal, as musculoskeletal specialists, is to restore normal muscle and joint function. The dry needling technique is used in conjunction with a comprehensive evaluation that complements other treatment techniques to decrease pain and restore function.  

Dry needling physical therapy uses a solid filament needle to treat muscle trigger points. These points are a highly localized, hyper-irritable spot in a taught band of skeletal muscle fibers. These muscle trigger points play a role in producing and maintaining the pain cycle. They can alter muscle performance, as well as generate pain along common referral patterns.  These points develop in muscle for various reasons, including referred or local pain, inflammation, athletic injury or other causes. 

Other terms commonly used to describe dry needling, include trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy. 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.

The dry needling technique uses the same tool that acupuncture uses, but with a different theoretical purpose. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use the holistic treatment of acupuncture to normalize energy, or Chi, in the body to cure syndromes.  Although an acupuncture needle is used in dry needling, dry needling is based on traditional reasoning of Western medicine. The sites for the needle insertion are located in specific myofascial trigger points in skeletal muscle, which can differ from acupuncture.