Dry Needling

Dry Needling

Many people feel that dry needling is a radical procedure and won't even consider trying it. However, when patients understand more about what it is and how it works, myths can be dispelled and patients are able better understand how it might benefit them. Whether or not you feel that it’s right for you, understanding more about dry needling can help to open up your potential treatment options.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a medical treatment that is often used for pain relief. The actual procedure involves inserting very thin needles in different spots in the body, at various depths. Scientific research suggests that while this does have a positive effect on treating pain, the specifics of how it works is still unclear. Some individuals suggest that dry needling works through balancing vital energies, while others believe that it triggers a neurological response that helps to alleviate pain.

Acupuncturists believe that the balancing of your energy can help relieve pain, boost wellbeing and even cure some illnesses. Many patients use dry needling to treat high blood pressure, headaches, joint pain, and even whooping cough.

How Does it Work

While science is still unclear on exactly how the process that dry needling uses works, traditional Chinese medicine suggests that it balances the life forces or “Qi." Qi is an energy that is believed to flow through the meridians in the body. These energy flows can be accessed through 350 different dry needling points in the body. When a needle is inserted into these points, it is believed to help restore the balance of energy.

While science cannot prove this theory, there is evidence that it does help with certain conditions. The scientific belief is that the dry needling points are in areas where muscles, nerves and connective tissue are likely to be stimulated. Stimulation of these areas increases blood flow which may be the reason that dry needling can help with pain relief.


Patients use dry needling for a variety of reasons and additional research has found that dry needling can help with several conditions.

These conditions are:

  • Tension headaches

  • Migraine headaches

  • Low back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Joint pain

  • High and low blood pressures

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting

  • Ulcers

  • Painful menstrual cycles

  • Dysentery

  • Sciatica

  • Dental pain

  • Tennis elbow

  • Sprains

  • Allergic rhinitis

This is only a partial list based on separate scientific findings, but there are many other conditions that may be helped by dry needling. If you believe that you may be a candidate, you should contact an acupuncturist today to find out.


When dry needling is compared to other treatment methods for similar conditions, it becomes apparent that there are significant advantages.

  • Dry Needling is overwhelmingly safe

  • There are very few side effects

  • It can control some types of pain

  • It is an alternative for some pain medications

  • It can be combined with other treatments, such as chiropractic care

Other Considerations

Dry needling is becoming more widely accepted as a medical practice and many chiropractors have started to add this treatment as an option within their offices. Chiropractors are also aware of how to blend dry needling with chiropractic care as part of a holistic treatment plan for their patients.

Due to the success of dry needling, several insurance plans are now offering coverage, but be sure to check with your acupuncturist as well as your insurance provider to see if your treatment is covered.

While dry needling is considered a safe procedure, there are some potential side effects that have been reported. Individuals that have certain blood clotting diseases or are taking blood thinners should not use dry needling. Some bleeding or bruising at the insertion site has been noted and in rare cases, deep insertions have resulted in a needle breaking and damaging an internal organ or collapsing a lung. For these reasons, it is important to discuss your concerns with your acupuncturist.


Dry needling can be an effective medical tool to use in your treatment plan. If you are considering dry needling, please contact a local chiropractic office today to discuss your options.

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