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Dry Needling 101

Dry Needling

Dry Needling has become a popularized treatment intervention utilized by Physical Therapists over the past decade. More people are coming into our PRO Therapy clinics searching for Dry Needling services on their own or with the recommendation from friends and/or family members that they should give Dry Needling a shot to help reduce their pain and stiffness. There are also a lot of people who have no idea what Dry Needling even is and how a Physical Therapist may utilize it to help an individual achieve their desired outcomes.

The purpose of this blog is to help answer some general questions you may have on Dry Needling and give you a better understanding on how it may help with your aches, pains and stiffness to get you back to doing the things in life you love to do!

Dry Needling

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a highly skilled intervention, utilized by Physical Therapists, that consists of a thin needle penetrating the skin to stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points (muscular and connective tissues) for pain management and problems with normal body movement patterns. In simple terms, it uses a very small needle that has no medication on it to treat common symptoms such as pain, stiffness and tightness.

Furthermore, it’s a technique to manage faulty performance between our nerves and muscles whereby Dry Needling can “re-set” a muscle that isn’t firing appropriately. The changes induced from the needle can help muscles get back to their normal states of relaxation and contraction.

Is Dry Needling the same as acupuncture? 

No. We’ll utilize similar tools/needles as acupuncturists, but Dry Needling is not considered acupuncture. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine utilizing meridian lines and corresponding points on the body to treat your symptoms. Conversely, Dry Needling consists of locating specific anatomical regions on the body or myofascial trigger points contributing to your symptoms. In the end, they both have the goal of managing your symptoms and getting you back on track with life.

Is Dry Needling safe? 

Yes. Studies have shown that the risk associated with Dry Needling is very low. The research on Dry Needling has demonstrated that there is a greater risk of adverse effects from taking Ibuprofen or Aspirin compared to Dry Needling. On rare occasions, some may get a bruise from where the needle is inserted.

What does it feel like? 

The needle gets directly inserted into muscle, so you can expect to experience “muscle-like” sensations when this takes place. We can most confidently describe the sensations as commonly achy, “pressure-like” and may even note a twitch in the muscle. Everyone will experience different sensations. But most will agree that the sensations from needle insertion are easily manageable, and the positive effects from Dry Needling outweigh the sensations noted during treatment.

Who can it help? 

When we can identify that muscle problems are a key factor related to someone’s pain and stiffness, the likelihood that Dry Needling can help is high. Some common conditions that we may utilize Dry Needling for include: Headaches, Jaw Pain, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, Shoulder Pain, Sciatica and so much more!

It’s important to know that Dry Needling is just one of many treatment solutions that we utilize to help people at PRO Therapy. It will always be used in conjunction with other treatments to help reduce pain/stiffness and improve mobility. If you’re interested to learn more about Dry Needling and how Physical Therapy can help you, feel free to call us directly at 612-767-9917 to speak to one of our expert Physical Therapists today!


Ben Schacht

Ben Schacht

Dr. Ben Schacht, Physical Therapist, takes pride in providing high quality and evidence-based physical therapy care to his clients, while helping them reach their functional goals. Ben enjoys implementing a hands-on approach to treatment, utilizing manual therapy interventions in conjunction with functional exercise to restore mobility and strength. It is Ben’s personal goal to connect with each client on an individual level and be a trusted health and wellness resource for them. Ben grew up in Monticello, MN where his passion for rehabilitation began after sustaining sports related injuries and personally experiencing the benefits of physical therapy. Ben received his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Concordia College – Moorhead where he played four years of college football. Following graduation, Ben earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from South College in Knoxville, TN. Ben enjoys treating people across the age spectrum with conditions that span from head to toe. He has taken a special interest in utilizing Trigger Point Dry Needling to treat myofascial pain conditions. With his extensive background in athletics, Ben enjoys treating sports related injuries and implementing injury prevention programs for athletes.
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We understand the needs of our patients during this time vary and have implemented a virtual Tele-Health option beyond clinic visits to accommodate.