Dry needling is used to treat muscle knots or trigger points as they are also known. Although dry needling is similar to traditional acupuncture, it differs in that it treats the muscle pain directly and is not based on traditional Chinese medicine. Dry needling is also known as medical acupuncture, as the basis of this therapy is derived and explained by western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculo-skeletal and nervous systems.

The procedure:

The practitioner will locate the appropriate spot, and insert a very thin acupuncture needle into the point in the muscle which is causing the pain. The insertion of the needle is normally not felt, and if inserted into a healthy muscle will not cause pain. However, when the needle is inserted into a sensitive muscle, such as where a muscle knot is located, a cramping sensation is usually felt. The cramping lasts for a few seconds, and will deactivate the muscle knot/trigger point and restore the muscle to it's normal function.

Research supports that dry needling reduces pain significantly (1), reduces muscle tension and normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction (2), leading to a return of normal muscle function.


1. Gerber LH, Shah, Rosenberger W, Armstrong K, Turo D, Otto P, Heimur J, Thaker N, Sikdar S.PM R. Dry Needling Alters Trigger Points in the Upper Trapezius Muscle and Reduces Pain in Subjects With Chronic Myofascial Pain. 2015 Feb 4. pii: S1934-1482(15)00052-0. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.01.020. 

2. Liu L, Huang QM, Liu QG, Ye G, Bo CZ, Chen MJ, Li P. Effectiveness of Dry Needling for Myofascial Trigger Points Associated With Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 May;96(5):944-955. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.12.015. Epub 2015 Jan 7