Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Dry Needling for Muscle Pain

March 2, 2016

Dry Needling performed by licensed Physical Therapists is gaining momentum in clinics and research trials across the country.  This intervention can be an excellent treatment for patients suffering from pain and trigger points within their muscles.  Trigger points are hyper irritable bands of tissue contributing to pain, loss of flexibility, and impaired strength in patients.  The dry needling technique leads to beneficial physiological changes in pain, circulation, nervous system function, and muscle performance.  When combined with other proven Physical Therapy interventions such as manual therapy and exercise, dry needling offers patients lasting relief of their symptoms.  

A recent review of available research trials (randomized controlled trials) on the effectiveness of dry needling was performed to determine the treatment’s effectiveness on trigger points in multiple body areas (Boyles et al. JMMT. 2016).  19 research trials were investigated by the authors including over 1000 patients.  Authors noted the available high quality evidence supports the utilization of dry needling for multiple muscle groups with improvements noted in pain, range of motion, and quality of life.    These improvements were noted in all regions of the body including the head, trunk and extremities.  

Patients are encouraged to discuss the appropriateness of dry needling for their pain and symptoms with their Physical Therapist.