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 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
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
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
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
How much does Dry
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.