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A photo of a physical therapist performing dry needling therapy on the arm of a patient
Dry needling at PT360

In the last few years, dry needling, which was first taught to physical therapists in 1997, has become a more commonly used technique to help expedite patients’ recovery. It is used to target muscle tissue tightness and trigger points by using a small, sterile filament (needle) that is inserted into the muscle. The needle, which creates a small lesion to the injured tissues, signals a healing response to the body in a quick fashion. The inflammatory process is activated to bring blood to the injured tissue, which brings new healthy cells and tissues which clears away the old, injured tissue.

When injury occurs, inflammation is initially produced from the damaged tissues. This is when someone with an injury becomes bruised and swollen. After the initial swelling dissipates, our bodies go into a state of protection and guard against further inflammation, which limits further blood flow to the injured tissues. This causes a state of stagnancy to occur, preventing the injured tissues from healing. The body produces fibroblasts, a cell that produces scar tissue, which tightens the muscles and tissue that are attempting to heal. Often after a few days or weeks of this occurring, this causes an injury to linger despite the body (and ourselves!) wanting to heal. Dry needling is used to bring healthy blood flow back to these injured areas and reducing the amount of scar tissue that forms.

Dry needling is part of our treatment plan here at PT 360. If a patient presents with tissue damage that causes chronic pain or a recently sustained injury that is not bruised or swollen, it is an extremely effective way to decrease pain and improve function. It takes approximately 15 minutes, depending on the area(s) being treated and is performed by certified dry needling physical therapists. The sensation patients experience is typically a deep ache and some muscle twitching and is somewhat uncomfortable, but not painful. It has been very effective for the following injuries or areas of pain:

  • ·         Neck pain
  • ·         Back/gluteal pain
  • ·         Headaches
  • ·         TMJD/jaw pain
  • ·         Elbow or forearm pain
  • ·         Patella tendinitis
  • ·         Hip pain due to tight quads/adductors
  • ·         Plantar fasciitis
  • ·         Athletes for body maintenance

If that doesn’t convince you, take Dani Horan’s word for it. She is a professional CrossFit competitive athlete who has competed at the CrossFit Games in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 and is treated by PT 360 therapists.

“Dry needling has been a game changer when it comes to helping me recover for my next week of training. I’ve found that it really targets the tight muscles and helps with mobility. When my mobility improves, it helps me become more efficient with certain movements. I notice that at my next training session I’m able to activate certain muscles better.”

A woman lifting a heavy barbell.


Please call us at PT 360 at the Williston location for more information!