Dry Needling: The Basics


Written on
February 7, 2024
Dr. Don C. Dequine Jr. PT, DPT, CSCS

Dry Needling is well-researched and has been growing in interest for the past 20 years. Dry needling (DN) reduces pain and promotes tissue healing, used mostly by Physical Therapists and Chiropractors. Lately, because of the rise of functional medicine, physicians are encouraging their teams (P.A., Nurse Practitioners, Etc.) to administer dry needling before injecting biologics (PRP, Stem Cells, Etc.). Reason for this blog: Pain is at the top of the list for elective orthopedic surgery. What if there was a way to reduce pain and increase tissue healing but not have surgery? Could DN be the answer? Read Below:

Does Dry Needling Work? Yes.

Is Dry Needling the same as Acupuncture? Short answer, no, but yes. Kind of.

Click HERE to read How Dry Needling is Different from Acupuncture *Donny’s Blog

Who should get DN? Anyone who is in acute, subacute, or chronic pain.

Click HERE for a list of diagnoses/problems that DN helps with and how.

A better question:

Who should not get DN?

Although there are few known cases of severe injury from the millions of individuals who have had acupuncture/DN (the needles are way too small), it is best to discuss with your physician if you: 1. Have active, metastatic cancer. 2. Know your INR (if you have no idea what this is, you are probably safe). The following link is an article explaining the prevalence of adverse reactions to DN. Reactions to Dry Needling.

How does DN work?

Simply, it increases blood flow to a needed area. The healing agents of the new, revitalized blood promote self-healing. With the new blood comes endogenous (from inside our body) pain-reducing agents: endorphins, opioids, etc., and self-healing properties.  * If you have a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, feel free to read this article HERE.

What does it feel like?

It depends on the technique (Click HERE for an explanation of the different techniques), but the most you should feel is an initial prick of the needle followed by nothing, a dull ache, or warmth. Persistent sharp pain and/or pulsing of the needle is not good. There might be muscle soreness for a few days and possible bruising.

** If you have had DN and it did not work, either it is too soon to recognize the effect (typically 2-3 days) OR you need to try again, preferably with a different technique and/or provider.

Explore Dry Needling at Freedom Here