Dry Needling

Dry Needling is a safe and effective treatment technique used to address myofascial pain syndromes. It involves the insertion of a very thin and flexible needle into a shortened muscle in order to help it relax, loosen and function better.


Dry needling is performed by a manipulation of a needle into a myofascial trigger point to help produce an involuntary spinal cord reflex, also known as a local twitch response. This results in lasting muscle relaxation due to the release of shortened bands of muscle fibres for overactive (tight) muscles or the activation of under-active (weak) muscles. Deactivation of the trigger points can bring immediate relief of signs and symptoms, so the therapist can efficiently train the muscles to work with the newly gained pain free range of motion.


Similar to an acupuncture needle, the needle used is referred to as a ‘dry needle’ because there is no solution or medication being injected. In the Integrated Dry Needling™ (IDN) approach, physiotherapists safely combine dry needling with other common physiotherapy treatments, when appropriate, based on the results of a comprehensive assessment.

What is the Difference between Integrated Dry Needling (IDN) & Acupuncture?

IDN is comparable in some ways to acupuncture; however, there are a number of important differences. IDN is based on Western medical science and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with the understanding of the body being influenced by the flow of Qi (energy) in pathways called meridians. IDN requires a comprehensive subjective and objective examination with a diagnosis by a physiotherapist knowledgeable in anatomy and human biomechanics. Needle insertions are indicated by physical signs and not according to predefined meridians while physiological effects are usually experienced immediately.


Conditions Treated by Dry Needling

Dry needling has successfully been used to treat a variety of conditions including:

  • Head and Neck Pain - including whiplash and headaches / migraines, degenerative joint disease, degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction

  • Shoulder Pain - including rotator cuff muscle tears, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), tendonitis and impingement syndrome

  • Elbow Pain - including lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow)

  • Back and Hip Pain - including lumbar degenerative disc disease, arthritic changes and herniated discs

  • Knee Pain - including degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis

  • Shin / Ankle / Foot Pain - including shin splints, gout, metatarsalgia and Morton's neuroma

  • Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)

  • Acute and Chronic Tendonitis

  • Post-traumatic injuries, Workplace- and Sports-related Overuse Injuries

  • Post-surgical Pain


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