What is Dry Needling?

So you’ve heard about Dry Needling, but don’t know exactly what it is?  You’re not alone and that’s why we asked our friend and OS Institute on-site physical therapist, Dr Kurt Brooks to answer some questions on dry needling and why you might want to consider trying it.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling, or Trigger Point Dry Needling, is a technique that utilizes thin,
monofilament needles (acupuncture needles) that are used to pierce the skin and are then used
to penetrate a tight band or knot within a muscle.

Is Dry Needling the same as Acupuncture?

No. Dry needling is not the same as Acupuncture.  Although similar, in that they both use thin needles to penetrate the skin, the
underlying philosophy behind them are very different.

In acupuncture, the needle is inserted into the skin at strategic points along meridians (energy pathways) to help balance the flow of
energy (chi) throughout the body for overall health and wellness.

With Dry Needling, the needle is placed directly into a trigger point or taught band in a particular muscle that is not
functioning correctly.

How does it feel? Will it hurt?

Typically, the insertion of the needle is not felt. A deep ache is reported by some in the muscle belly after the needle is inserted. A twitch in the muscle is normal and is usually associated with a quick flash of pain. (The sharp pain is gone almost immediately though.)

After treatment, the muscle will usually feel sore for a day or two, much like after a heavy work out.

What does it treat? What is it good for?

Dry needling can aid in the treatment of soft tissue dysfunction, primarily trigger points (which are taught bands or knots within a muscle). Dry needling releases the trigger point, thus helping to relieve pain, restore range of motion/ flexibility, and normalize function.

With the addition of electrical stimulation, dry needling can help restore normal function to a muscle that is not working well (“sleepy glutes” or and muscle inhibited by pain or other dysfunction).


Where can I get more information about dry needling?

You can always contact us here at OSI and our in-house Physical Therapist at drkurt (at) os-institute (dot) com.

  • You can also find more information at:
    • https://www.choosept.com/resources/detail/dry-needling-by-physical-therapist-what-you-should
    • https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/on-pins-and-needles-just-what-is-dry-needling


AUTHOR:  Dr Kurt Brooks

Kurt is a physical therapist with almost 30 years experience. Working with
orthopaedic and sports medicine injuries, he continues to build on his love of
learning – from completing a manual therapy fellowship, earning an advanced
doctorate in Physical Therapy, to teaching at the Duke University School of
Medicine/ Department of Physical Therapy.

His love of movement has evolved from participating in all major sports during his childhood and playing college-level volleyball, to attaining his 2nd degree black-belt in Tae Kwon Do and challenging himself with Spartan races in time for his 50th birthday. He continues his loves of anatomy and biomechanics, of life-long learning, of caring for others and of movement by incorporating Original Strength concepts into his clinical practice and daily life.