What is Dry Needling?

Is it safe and is it for me? 

[6 minute read written by Dr. Jason Avakian PT, DScPT]

Dry needling is a modern treatment designed to reduce/ and even eliminate muscular pain and improve strength and flexibility in the body. 

During dry needling, a Physical Therapist inserts a small filiform needle (similar to an acupuncture needle) into your tight muscles or “knots”.

Now, I hear what you are thinking… OUCH! But actually, the Filiform needles are so fine and small that you barely even feel them. The needles activate bodies natural healing system by allowing the tight muscle to relax. , short, sterile, stainless steel needles that don’t inject fluid into the body. That’s why the term “dry” is used.

Practitioners place the needles in “trigger points” in your muscle or tissue. The trigger points are areas of knotted or hard muscle that cause symptoms of:

  • “Exquisite tenderness” (meaning pressure on the spot hurts more than other areas)

  • Stiffness (hard to move your body part)

  • tingling around the pain or into a remote area (sometimes will move down the body part like nerve pain, but it's not)

 

  • a “jump sign” where the muscle twitches when rubbed

  • localized weakness and fatigue (working out is hard because it gets tired too fast)

  • cramping sensation with use (Feeling like your getting a “charley horse”)

  • and feeling like the muscle never relaxes. 

After treatment which can take 15-30 seconds to release the knot, patients will feel significantly less pain with palpation of the area, the knot will be gone and strength and flexibility immediately improve.

Does Dry Needling Hurt??

NO, most of the 1,000’s of clients we have treated who have say it feels a little achy, like a sore tooth, crampy like your foot is cramping and after treatment some mild soreness like you had a good workout. Some even report liking the feeling because the relief is so fast!

See what some of our clients have said about Dry Needling!!

Dr. Jason has been able fix a nagging shoulder injury in 2 treatments. I went from not being able to do a overhead snatch for 3 years to doing moderate weight. Dry needling for the win! E.K, Crossfitter

 

I can’t express enough how helpful Kinetic has been though my recovery process. I went from being in pain from a frozen shoulder to full mobility and being able to train again. The trigger point dry needling and extensive knowledge of the body is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you again Kinetic for everything you’ve done!! M.C pro-golfer,

 

I sought out Kinetic Sports and Spine PT after a bicycle crash that left me with an immobile shoulder and severe pain. They examined and assessed my injury while explaining what the PT thought was going on within my deltoid. After a needling session and a few mobility exercises, I was able to see significant improvements and I couldn’t be happier. J.L Pro-Triathlete

 

Dry needling in practice

Dry needling is most often performed by Physical Therapists in the United States and in other countries. Each state has different regulations on who can perform dry needling, but it is regulated by each states, physical therapy board. Massage therapists and athletic trainers are not allowed to perform dry needling. Chiropractors and Medical Doctors are allowed but not a common treatment for them to use.   

 

What are the benefits of dry needling?

Dry needling provides relief for:

  • Acute and Chronic muscle pain

  • Reduce tightness and stiffness in the muscles and tendons

  • Increase flexibility and range of motion in the body region

  • Reduce numbness and tingling in a local or remote region

  • Improve strength and performance in recreational sports and the gym

More testimonials from our clients about the results of Dry Needling..

Kinetic Sports and Spine PT is the best! I was in a crunch and nursing a leg injury before running my first ever half marathon. My PT stayed late to squeeze me in and worked wonders using the Dry Needling technique!!! I went from having pain for a month and a half while running to no pain at all come race day.  I will be back whenever I need any other PT related items. R.D, Runner

Jason is very gifted at assessing your pain or injury and not just treating symptoms, but finding the underlying cause. The trigger point dry needling has helped me tremendously and gotten results much faster and more thoroughly than just traditional PT alone. If you want a true professional who is passionate about getting the best results for you, Jason is your best choice. J.B, Crossfitter and Triathlete

My experience at Kinetic Sports was top-notch. I havie been competing in triathlons since 2010, and have done 5 Ironman’s. I have had much success as a triathlete, however, pain in the lower back while doing the bike leg of an Ironman caused the most pain I have ever had at every race, and almost caused me to quit 3 of my 5 Ironmans. I came to Jason after having visited almost every bike fitter in town, gotten many opinions, and had many deep tissue massages which helped but never stopped the pain from becoming unbearable on the bike. I honestly did not expect that Jason could "solve" my problems, but I had heard really good things about Jason.

After a few visits prior to my most recent Ironman Jason developed a theory about the root cause of my issues. With some adjustment, exercise as at home, and a few follow up visits I was feeling good. I went to compete at Ironman Boulder (a tough course) and finished the bike leg with no back pain. Of the 5 Ironman’s I completed this was the one that let my fitness do the talking (not my back). S.H, Pro Triathlete

The constant aches and pains I was feeling are a thing of the past. I am very particular about who I will see for any type of treatment, and I am beyond satisfied with my experience at Kinetic Sports and Spine. I have tried countless different types of therapies over the years without any major improvements, however immediately after my first session at Kinetic Sports and Spine, I was already noticing improvements and feeling much better. Not only will you leave feeling better, but you will leave more educated about anything you may ask regarding your specific treatment or otherwise. You are provided with the tools to feel better and continue to heal and strengthen on your own time as well. I have never felt more comfortable or trusted someone more with my health and recovery. I highly recommend to everyone! Thank you so much for everything! M.W, Fitness Competitor

Are there side effects or risks to dry needling?

Most side effects are very mild side effects are very common with dry needling but serious side effects are rare. Most patients report the feeling after treatment to be so much relief the discomfort from the technique is negated.

The most common side effects around the needling site include:

  • bruising

  • bleeding

  • temporary soreness (feels like you had a workout in the area)

Serious side effects include:

  • pneumothorax (punctured lung)

  • large bruising

  • soreness greater then 24 hrs

Is Dry Needling right for me?

 

Have you tried other treatments with some success or maybe none at all? Does this list sound like you??

  • Aspirin

  • Surgery

  • Steroid injections

  • Massage

  • Acupuncture

  • Physical Therapy (traditional exercise and stretching)

  • Chiropractic

  • Doctors never tell you what is wrong with you

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

 

If this sounds like you then YES!! Dry Needling will defiantly help you!! We have been using this technique for over 14 years and treated 10,000 + people with great success because of how quickly Dry Needling reduces pain and improves strength, and your range of motion!!

 

Before going to see Jason, I spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars on different Physical Therapists around the valley... I had a bad shoulder injury that was never diagnosed by the first PT's properly. Thanks to Jason, after our very first meeting, I had crystal clear clarity on what exactly was causing my shoulder to never fully heal and after a few visits, my shoulder was operating close to 100%. With Jason's expertise, different treatments including dry needling, cupping, and even some stretching and at home exercise routines he gave me, I have never felt better and he is the only PT I’ll see in the future for any injury ever again. His schedule fills up fast and is usually booked 1-month in advance, and there's a good reason for that too, it's worth the early scheduling and well worth the wait. I've sent 2 friends to him already and will send more if any more friends have injuries! B.M, Bodybuilder

I discovered KSSPT through a friend years ago. I had been dealing with hip pain for almost a year at that point. After a few sessions with Jason I was pain free. Not only did he help me with that injury but he also developed a stretching/exercise routine to prevent it from happening again. I’ve continued to come in with other injuries over the years, even though I live an hour across town. They are that good and I recommend them to everyone I know! L.A, Professional Masters Crossfitter

AMAZING! Dr. Jason is amazing! I have been dancing for the past 22 years of my life and I have had horrible pain in my lower back and hips. I had multiple rounds of cortisone injections and even had (2) ablations (one on the right side and one on the left side). In addition to pain I could not stand, sit, or walk for more than 30 minutes at any give time. I started going to Dr. Jason Avakian about 2-3 months ago and all I can say is his treatment has given me a fresh new start. Not only can I stand, sit, walk for long periods of time but I feel my profession (Ballet and Jazz Dancer) has been restored and I am about 90% back to full performance without any restrictions! I HIGHLY recommend him and his treatment! A+++ J.M, Professional Dancer

 

Dr Jason is truly a life saver! I am an intermediate powerlifter and had an seen him for a major back spasm/low back pain that had me worried I was just going to always live with pain and a limited range of motion. After just ONE visit, I was 80-90% better! One week later I over did it in the gym and hurt myself again, but I saw Dr Jason and he worked his magic again! No one will ever regret going to see him. Worth every penny and then some!!! E.A, Powerlifter

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