Dry Needling: Where is it Most Commonly Used and What Are the Benefits?

Dry Needling: Where is it Most Commonly Used and What Are the Benefits?

Dry Needling: Where is it Most Commonly Used and What Are the Benefits?

When it comes to health and wellness, there’s no shortage of remedies and treatments to choose from, all with their own unique set of pros and cons. But one promising remedy that could just give you the healing results that you need is dry needling. This sharp and precise form of acupuncture has seen rising popularity among those looking for relief from their physical ailments.

So, what exactly is dry needling and how does it work? And where is it most commonly used, and what are its benefits? Well, if you keep reading, you’ll get an in-depth look into all of that and more. So without further ado, let’s dive right in and explore the wonder of dry needling.

Dry Needling and Trigger Points

Dry Needling and Trigger Points are often referred to as one and the same, and this is due to the fact that trigger points are the primary targets for dry needling techniques. Trigger points are tender knots of muscle fibers that occur in spasmed muscles when localized twitch responses, also known as motor endplate activation, occur. When these trigger points become active or irritated it can cause pain in other parts of the body that appear to be unrelated at first. Dry needling is a beneficial treatment for these trigger points because it allows physical therapists to deactivate them by quickly inserting thin needles directly into the muscle at the point of tension.

Transitioning from dry needling and trigger points, understanding these trigger points in more depth is critical — which is why we’ll next explore what they are exactly and how they may affect our health.

What are Trigger Points?

Trigger points are a big part of the dry needling technique. They are tiny hypersensitive spots in the muscles that can cause pain both locally and throughout other parts of the body. Trigger points often have a palpable nodule – a knotted muscle that is felt by touch. In order to treat trigger points, needles are inserted into these sites to provide relief from the pain and myofascial restrictions.

Studies have shown that using dry needling on muscle trigger points increases blood flow to help relieve stress and tension in tight muscles, with one study showing a decrease of 30-50% in patients’ pain intensity after varying periods of treatment. The results also showed dry needling was effective for fibromyalgia and headaches as well. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude from these findings that dry needling can be an effective form of treatment for painful conditions caused by trigger points found within muscles.

As we can see, dry needling combined with trigger point treatments presents numerous benefits for those who suffer from chronic pain or tension in their muscles.

Common Areas to Be Treated

When it comes to the common areas where dry needling is used, research shows that the top three are the shoulder, neck, and lower back. This is likely due in part to the many muscles located in these regions that can become knotted or develop trigger points regularly from overuse or poor posture. However, dry needling isn’t limited to these three areas. Other popularly treated areas include the elbow, hip, knee, and foot.

All together with the professional opinion of trained therapists and strength coaches combined with the evidence of many patients experiencing relief from their pain with dry needling treatment, it is clear that this method has its place in the recovery toolbox of both professionals and those hoping to increase their mobility and comfort at home as well. Now let’s take a look at what possible benefits this form of treatment provides.

Benefits of Dry Needling

When considering the benefits of dry needling, several advantages become apparent. Dry needling can be a more comfortable and less painful alternative to other treatments, such as injections, surgery and many time, even massage. For example, patients with chronic plantar fasciitis may have decreased complications and pain associated with ‘needle fasciotomy,’ which is a form of minor surgery. Additionally, dry needling has been found to be beneficial in treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries due to the release of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs), which are localized tight bands felt in the muscles.

Research has indicated that dry needling can help reduce muscle tension and improve the range of motion by helping realign scar tissue. The process stimulates local blood flow, allowing oxygen-rich blood to reach the surrounding muscles, which helps with healing. As a result, pain is reduced and normal movement patterns can resume.

Additionally, dry needling can also stimulate the immune system, aiding in ailments such as lupus or arthritis. Lastly, research conducted on animals suggests this method could also help heal fractures faster than traditional methods because it releases growth factors that promote new bone formation.  A recent study also showed improvement in bone density (with the proper Dry Needling technique) around arthritic knee joints.

Overall, dry needling is quickly becoming known as an effective treatment for musculoskeletal issues due to its relative safety and effectiveness compared to more invasive treatments. Knowing who is qualified to perform this procedure is essential for determining whether it is the right treatment for you.


Dry needling is a form of acupuncture that targets trigger points, and tender knots in muscles causing pain. Studies back its effectiveness, showing it increases blood flow, reduces pain, and is beneficial for conditions like fibromyalgia and headaches. Common treatment areas are the shoulder, neck, and lower back. Benefits of dry needling include being a less painful alternative to other treatments, aiding in acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries, reducing muscle tension, improving range of motion, and potentially aiding immune response and fracture healing.

If you’re interested in seeing a chiropractor for a Dry Needling chiropractic session, visit us at one of our offices in Erie or in Longmont. The Chiropractic Center of Erie and Chiropractic Center of Longmont treat the body holistically with our award-winning treatment process including Dry Needling when requested, in fact, we have been voted “Best of the West” eleven times and our aim is to help your body achieve and maintain optimal performance.

We specialize in treating patients suffering from spinal pain and many other maladies and have helped several patients find relief without the need for surgery. If you’d like to learn more about chiropractic care in Longmont or Erie or have questions about what to expect during your first chiropractor visit in Erie or Longmont, call our offices today at 303-828-3000 or 303-772-1950!

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Dr. David Ehrmantraut, DC, SFDN

Dr. David Ehrmantraut, DC, SFDN

Dr. Dave's clinics have received multiple accolades, being voted "Best of Boulder" and "Best of the West" nine times. He has treated numerous world-class athletes and is dedicated to providing the best results for his patients in the shortest possible time.