Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Dry needling is a modern treatment designed for easing muscular pain. It is gaining its popularity these days because of its wonderful benefits. However, for anyone it would always be a concern if the procedure is actually safe. So, let us know more about the treatment, know if dry needling is safe and also know about its benefits.

What Is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a modern treatment procedure where the practitioner inserts several filiform needles into the skin of the patients. These filiform needles are fine, short, and stainless steel needles that do not inject fluid and is thus the term “dry” is used.

The procedure is performed by skilled, trained physical therapists, certified in the procedure. This treatment procedure is used for treating neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.

Now if we talk about how actually dry needling therapy work; let us inform that there is more to this treatment than just sticking a dry needle into your skin and making you feel better in a magical way. There is some science involved. Needling actually creates a lesion that begins a process of physiological mechanisms remodeling injured and inflamed soft tissue. It replaces the injured tissue with fresh tissue of the same type.

Is Dry Needling Safe?

Though the name of the procedure may sound intimidating, dry needling therapy is safe, minimally discomforting and often an effective technique for patients with certain musculoskeletal presentations. It must be important to note that physical therapist performing dry needling, have appropriate training and thus the goal of the therapy is absolute safety.

However, there might be some mild side effects with dry needling, which includes bruising, bleeding and temporary soreness. Serious side effects of dry needling remain very rare.

NOTE: You may be at risk for contracting blood-borne illnesses, diseases and infection if non-sterile needles are used. You must ensure that your therapist is using sterile needles and disposes of them after each use.

What are the Benefits of Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a accepted treatment in use by physical therapists in most of the states of the US, for treating conditions such as acute and chronic injuries, headaches, tendinitis, neck and back pain, muscle spasms, sciatica, muscle strains, fibromyalgia, Hip and knee pain, Runner’s knee, elbow pain, and overuse injuries. Let us check out the benefits under the following categories.

Relieve Pain and Muscle Tightness:

One of the best benefit of dry needling is it relieve pain and muscle tightness. What makes dry needling an effective procedure to reduce pain in specific areas of the body is that it targets trigger points. Let us assume you are suffering from shoulder or neck pain; the therapist will insert needles into detected trigger points. These needles will release tension, inflammation, chemicals and pressure in the muscles, that has actually caused the pain. There will be an immediate pain relief and also an improved range of motion with this.

Improved Range of Motion:

Dry needling helps in improving overall movement of an injury. If you are an athlete and are constantly on the move, having fluid movement and having a full range of motion would be the key to your success.

Let us take the example of the shoulder injury. If you are a baseball player, it is important that you have a full range of motion in your shoulder while successfully throwing the baseball. You put a lot of stress on your shoulder, by constantly throwing the baseball; and it is very much essential for you to relax your muscles and reduce the muscle tightness. So, dry needling can be used to help reduce the pain and also improve overall function of your shoulder, so that you won’t feel constant discomfort in your shoulder or another injury.

Speeds Up Recovery:

The worst and longest part in any injury is the recovery process. Some injuries take really long period to recover and we are all anxious to get back to full strength. With the dry needling treatment procedure, patients have experienced quicker pain relief and improved range of motion. So, this is one of the best benefits of the therapy as it speeds up the healing process compared to other treatment options.


Now, you must be pretty aware of the benefits of dry needling procedure. If you want to undergo this treatment, do ensure that you check with your doctor and therapists about the benefits and also the side effects of the treatment and also discuss about your underlying medical conditions in a detailed manner so as to keep safe.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 17, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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