Resources / Knowledge

  • Author | Evan Kelley, PT, DPT, COMT, CDNT
  • Date | 4/27/2022 7:00 am
Dry Needling at Sport Ortho Urgent Care

Could Dry Needling Be a Fix For My Muscle Pain?

Muscle and joint pain are common problems that often play into one another. Additionally, each person’s pain is unique, and each requires a unique and custom approach to treatment. Our physical therapists offer dry needling, an intervention strategy that has gained popularity over the last several years in physical therapy.

We get a lot of questions from patients about the use and purpose of dry needling. Common questions include, “What is dry needling? Can it fix my problem? Does it hurt? Is it acupuncture?”

In this post, I will explore the answers to those questions about dry needling. With a better understanding of this conservative intervention, you can be a more active participant in your treatment as your physical therapist determines if dry needling is the best option for you.

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is simply a strategy used to decrease muscle tightness, muscle spasms, and pain in a given muscle group or area to make you move and feel better.

While there are varieties of options that could offer similar results, such as stretching, heat, or massage therapy, dry needling does have a unique ability to help patients feel better faster.

“But how?” you might be wondering. Dry needling is a practice in which small needles, the same as those used in acupuncture, are inserted into the muscle and aimed at causing localized muscular twitches. These local muscle twitches are the scientifically proven factor that helps relieve pain, tension, and stiffness.

Although this does typically cause a bit of pain, many describe this feeling as a dull, achy, cramp-like feeling rather than a sharp pain. These twitches are **what your therapist wants to see, as it is a strong indicator that the muscle is releasing and can now be trained differently.

Is the pain from dry needling worth it?


After a needling session is complete, the muscles that were needled are well prepared to simulate muscular improvements. While these muscles may seem sore or achy, we encourage patients to exercise that body region to stimulate muscle activation, blood flow, and speed begin the healing process.

Most patients see an immediate improvement in their overall mobility in the needled region, with little more than slightly sore muscles.

Dry needling can be a great option to help you feel better and return to more strenuous daily activities. Its broad scope application can help with most muscle and joint problems from low back pain, hip pain, shoulder conditions, and headaches.

Where to receive treatment.

I have helped hundreds of patients return to their active lifestyles using dry needling as a piece of their plan.

Schedule an appointment with one of our fabulous therapists who would be happy to discuss the science of dry needling for those who want to dig a little deeper. In my professional opinion, it can be a game-changer for many people. A game-changer that makes the mild pain during the session is totally worth it to reap the benefits of overall pain relief and return to daily function.

Evan Kelley, PT, DPT, COMT, CDNT