What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a treatment technique that uses thin needles to decrease pain and restore function. This is accomplished by increasing blood circulation to an injured area to aid in restoring your body’s natural ability to heal and decreasing muscle tension by directly breaking through trigger points, which are defined as tender and tight bands of muscle.

Is it the same thing as acupuncture?

Dry needling may look like acupuncture but beyond both using thin needles to break the skin. There are significant differences with the intention that the needles are used.

Acupuncture has been around for centuries and based around ancient Chinese medicine. Acupuncture’s goal is to relieve pain by altering or restoring the body’s energy flow.

Modern day dry needling dates back to the 1940’s, when the concept of muscular trigger points were discovered by Dr. Janet Travell, also known as President John F. Kennedy’s personal physician. Today dry needling has become a commonly used treatment intervention performed by physical therapists and other approved medical health professionals. Instead of trying to change the body’s energy flow, it focuses on addressing mechanical dysfunction function within the body such as tight muscles and poor circulation.

Are there side effects or risk?

Whenever something is entering your body and breaking through the protective barrier that is your skin, there are potential risks. However, in regards to dry needling those risks are very minimal when performed by a trained/licensed professional. The most common side effects include:

  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Soreness

What are the benefits of Dry Needling?

Dry needling is the most invasive treatment technique available to physical therapists and can be extremely effective in resolving pain and helping in the recovery from an injury, especially if you’ve gone through more traditional types of physical therapy without the results you were hoping for. The greatest benefits of dry needling include:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Restore  your body’s natural healing process
  • Lasting pain relieve
  • Improve function and performance

Still Not sure if dry needling is right for you?

If you’re still having questions it’s always best to consult with your local physical therapist or health care provider that is familiar with the Dry needling and the specific issues you’re having. At Activade Health we work with athletes and the active population in Charlotte, NC who have suffered from an injury or are dealing with a chronic pain condition through the use of dry needling in conjunction with other physical therapy treatments to correct the problem and get our clients back to doing the sports and activities they love most!


(Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is presented for the purpose of education only. Nothing contained in this report is intended to be instructional for medical diagnosis or treatment.

The information should not be considered complete, nor should it be relied on to suggest a course of treatment for a particular individual. It should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Information obtained in this report is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions or their treatment. Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified healthcare provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this report. )

By Dr. Ken Corcoran, PT, DPT, SCS, CEAS