Dry Needling

Integrative Dry Needling is a highly effective form of Physical and Occupational Therapy for the treatment of a multitude of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. It is not appropriate for all conditions or pathologies, and the use of the technique will be at the discretion of your therapist.

How does it work?
Integrative dry needling is not acupuncture (traditional Chinese medicine); it is based on neuro-anatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems.

A very fine filament needle is inserted through the skin and into the deeper tissues that are considered trigger points to your pain. Dry needling works by causing a micro lesion within the pathological tissue, thus breaking up shortened tissues, inhibiting a reflex arc from the nervous system to the tissue, normalizing the inflammatory response and centrally mediating the pain.

This mechanical and neuromuscular effect provides an environment that enhances the body’s ability to heal, which ultimately reduces pain.

What conditions can be treated?
Conditions include, but are not limited to, neck, back, and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headaches including migraines and tension type headaches, jaw pain, buttock pain, and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness/spasms).

Are the needles sterile?
Yes, we only use sterile disposable needles.

Is the procedure painful?
The fine filament needle is very thin, solid, and flexible, which allows for the needle to be pushed throughout the skin versus cuRng the skin. This helps reduce any discomfort that may occur with the procedure. We strive to make the treatment virtually painless, however at times a local twitch response of the muscle may be felt. When the needle is inserted into the pathological tissue, the local twitch response sensation is normal and is felt only momentarily. Many patients describe this twitch response as a little electric shock, cramp, or an ache sensation. These sensations are perfectly normal and even a desirable response. Your therapist will make every effort to make your experience comfortable and therapeutic.

How will I feel afer the Dry Needling treatment?
This will vary, but many patients experience immediate relief of their symptoms and an increase in range of motion. Soreness can also be a common response from the needling, but does not occur with all people. Some individuals may experience an immediate achiness or a delayed soreness the next day. The soreness, if present, will usually last 1-2 days; use of heat and gentle massage and movement will be beneficial. Mild bruising may occur at the needling sites, and is more prevalent in certain parts of the body. Larger bruising may also occur, but is rare. Application of ice on the bruise will help with the soreness and the skin discoloration will last several days, but is not harmful.

It is uncommon but possible that the treatment may temporarily increase your symptoms. This is not unusual, but if this continues past the 1-2 day window, inform your therapist to allow adjustment of your program to enhance your comfort the next time This does not mean that needling will not be beneficial to your condition.

Will I continue to do exercises or receive other treatment?
Yes, your personalized therapy program will still integrate traditional therapy methods including manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, endurance training, stabilization and posture training.

How many treatments will I need?
This will depend on the category you fit in which is determined by the state of the injury and your overall health. Remember we are attempting to cause mechanical and biochemical changes without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to break the pain cycle. Your therapist will be able to give you more insight after your evaluation.

What should I do to prepare for the treatment?
• Do not eat 30 minutes prior to treatment
• Be well hydrated but empty your bladder prior to treatment
• Wear lose fiRng clothing, shorts or bathing suit for easy access to your painful areas

What should/can I do after treatment; what should I avoid?
Our recommendations vary depending on the amount of soreness you have and on the individual response to the treatment. Recommendations may include increasing your water intake, applying heat or ice over the area, gentle stretches and modification of activities.

Is Dry Needling treatment covered by my insurance?
This is a Physical/Occupational Therapy treatment and is NOT acupuncture. Therefore, your coverage of Dry Needling should correspond with your Physical or Occupational Therapy benefits. You can discuss this further with our administrative staff if you require more information.

Not all medical or physical/occupational therapy professionals are trained to perform the Integrative Dry Needling treatment technique. The therapists at OUR CLINIC have advanced training and have been certified through Dr Ma’s Integrative Dry Needling Institute.


“I’d had a chronic pain in my right should and arm for three years. I saw a chiropractor and a massage therapist, but the pain kept coming back. At Hands-On they worked on the cause of the pain, and gave me focused exercises to not only help relieve the pain, but keep it away.

Dry Needling is amazing!  Virtually no pain when the needles are placed.  When the needle was placed at the focal point of the pain, there was a slight twitch. Nothing compared to what I’d been going through.

If the therapists at Hands-On say Dry Needling should help you, there is no reason not to do it.  Two sessions, and I’ve been pain-free since then.”

–  Mary C., a very happy patient

“I had hip pain that was not getting better. I was a little dubious about trying the Dry Needling.

After the first treatment, I could not believe the difference; it was remarkable! The relief was about 80% and even the next day the relief was 70%.

It never got back to the level it was before the dry needling. In fact, with continued exercises and the dry needling, I was pain free in a few weeks”

– Nancy D., another happy patient