Dry Needling at Balanced PT

Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use for the treatment of pain and movement impairments.   The technique uses a "dry"needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle.

Other terms commonly used to describe dry needling, include trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy.

Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles, and supported by research.

Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture

While Dry Needling uses the same tool as

acupuncture—it is with a different theoretical

purpose. Dry Needling is based on traditional,

studied and tested practices of Western

Medicine to restore normal muscle function.

Traditional acupuncture practi-tioners follow

Eastern Medicine’s key principle of holistic treatment,

and is based on normalizing the energy

imbalance, or Chi, in the body to cure


Further, the amount of formal training received

by a physical therapist is extensive. A therapist

has undergone thousands of hours of training,

successfully passed regulated board exams, and

has a thorough knowledge of a patient’s


Dry Needling Frequently asked questions

Which conditions can be treated with Dry Needling?

Dry Needling can be used to treat a

variety of musculoskeletal problems.

Examples of conditions that can be treated

successfully with dry needling include:


o Back and neck pain, including postural

problems and tension

o Arm pain (shoulder impingements, tennis

or golfer’s elbow)

o Headache

o Buttock and leg pain (including sciatic pain)

o Hamstring strains

o Knee pain

o Calf tightness or cramps

What is a Trigger Point?

A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group.

Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.

What Kind of Needles Are Used?

Dry needling involves a thin filiform needle that penetrates the skin and stimulates underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The needle allows a physical therapist to target tissues that are not manually palpable.

Physical therapists wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when dry needling, consistent with Standard Precautions, Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings, and OSHA standards. The sterile needles are disposed of in a medical sharps collector.

Does Dry Needling hurt?

Typically, patients will feel some level

of discomfort, but it is short-lived. If one

does not feel the treatment at all, it is not

yet working.

Is Dry Needling safe?

We go to great lengths to ensure

safety. Physical Therapists have all passed

their necessary board exams, and have an

exhaustive understanding of anatomy.

We apply OSHA standards, use personal

protective high-quality equipment, and

proudly hold to the highest standards of


How will I feel after having

treatment done?

There may be some soreness immediately

after treatment in the area of

the body that was Dry Needled. This is

normal, although does not always occur.

Occasionally, soreness develops a few

hours later, or even the next day. The soreness

may vary depending on the area of

the body that was treated, and also varies

person-to-person, but typically it feels like

you have had an intense workout at the

gym. Occasionally patients will experience

some bruising with this soreness.

A patient may also feel tired, nauseous,

emotional, and/or somewhat “out of it”

after treatment. This is a normal response.

How many sessions of Dry

Needling will I need?

Dry Needling patients average 2-3

sessions, and will not use more than 5-6

except in rare circumstances. Often we will

use Dry Needling once or twice per week

out of 2-3 visits. Some patients require 1-2

sessions, while others require 8-10.

Individual results will vary.

Will Dry Needling be done

at my first appointment?

We do not typically use Dry Needling at

a patient’s first appointment unless they fit

a classic “trigger point” presentation. We

may introduce a patient to Dry Needling at

an initial appointment, educating on the

procedure, benefits, risks and side effects;

and then use the procedure on subsequent


Can I come in just for a Dry

Needling appointment?

Yes. Although we do recommend that Dry

Needling be a part of a

comprehensive physical therapy

treatment program, however, we do

offer Dry Needling as a stand alone

treatment (~30 min). During this

treatment, our therapists will also

recommend stretching and exercises

specific to you area of pain and

dysfunction to assist in effectiveness

of treatment.

How much does Dry

Needling cost?

Balanced PT charges $50 per Dry

Needling session for non current patients,

and $35 for current patients. Insurance may

cover Dry Needling in some instances, but

typically it is an out-of-pocket expense.


Click here to Learn More about Dry needling at Balanced PT

Dr. Clark Bearsmith and Dr. Talia Gilmour are both certified Dry Needling specialists at BPT.

© 2015 Balanced Physical Therapy and Wellness, LLC