What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling (DN) is a highly skilled manual therapy technique performed by a physical therapist using a single-use, single-insertion, sterile, monofilament needle to penetrate the skin or underlying tissue to effect change in body conditions, pain, movement, impairment, and disability. Dry Needling is not acupuncture, as the focus is on treatment of trigger points or tender points, and not on the flow of energy or chi in the body.

Physical Therapists are experts in neuromusculoskeletal anatomy, and use their anatomical knowledge to identify areas of tissue that might benefit from Dry Needling, called trigger points. Dry Needling of trigger points can relieve pain; improve range of motion; help muscles contract and relax more efficiently; improve the blood flow, oxygenation, and pH of tissues; and improve your overall sense of physical well-being.

What Are Trigger Points?

Myofascial trigger points are areas of muscle and tissue irritation, tightness, and sensitivity that can be tender to the touch and refer pain to any area of the body. Mechanically inserting a fine needle into the trigger point can elicit a “twitch” response to relieve muscle spasm, improve circulation, and realign scar tissue. Needling of trigger points can reduce the central sensitization of the nervous system associated with chronic pain. It also stimulates the release of endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural painkillers.

Additional Information

Some treatments may include attaching electrical stimulation to the needles, to increase the twitch response of the tissues. Benefits of Dry Needling can be felt immediately, or may take 7–10 days for your body to respond and remodel surrounding tissues.

As with any invasive procedure, there is some risk associated with Dry Needling. Mild bruising and bleeding are common responses to needling, and should not be a concern. Though unlikely, the most serious risk associated with Dry Needling is accidental puncture of a lung (pneumothorax). Your practitioner will go over all of the risks with you and answer any questions you may have. Please notify your provider if you have any conditions that can be transferred by blood, require blood anticoagulants, or any other conditions that may have an adverse effect to needle punctures.

Ask your therapist whether Dry Needling is appropriate for you, and may be an effective part of your custom, comprehensive physical therapy treatment program.

Carlson ProCare is proud to have therapists certified in Dry Needling in our New Milford and Meriden, CT offices. Patients receive one-to-one customized care with their therapist. We work with you to meet your goals.


More than 10 years clinical of experience in every office!



We offer the most effective techniques to work with you to manage your specific condition and help you meet your goals.