What is Dry Needling?

How Effective is Dry Needling in Treating Musculoskeletal Pain?

Dry needling is a skilled intervention technique used by a Registered Physiotherapist that involves the insertion of thin acupuncture needles into underlying myofascial trigger points (MTrP), muscles, and connective tissues to treat musculoskeletal pain. This technique is growing in popularity, and for good reason. Dry needling has been shown to be an effective treatment for a range of musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and knee pain to name a few.

One of the key benefits of dry needling is that it can provide immediate relief for musculoskeletal pain. The needle is inserted directly into the myofascial trigger point or ‘knot’ in the muscle that is causing the pain.  By needling this trigger point a local twitch response (LTR) of the muscle fibres is elicited.  The LTR results in a reset of  muscle fibre tension, leading to reduced tone, improved muscle stretch flexibility, and reduction of pain. This immediate relief is an effective treatment strategy that can augment a physical therapy treatment plan leading to improved function.

Another benefit of dry needling is the improvement of muscle function including restoration of strength capacity and flexibility.  By restoring strength capacity the patient is able to activate all the muscle fibres resulting in greater strength for activity.  When the needles are inserted into the muscles, they cause a local twitch response (LTR). This can be particularly helpful for athletes or anyone who has suffered an injury that has their mobility or strength limited.

It is worth noting that while dry needling is an effective treatment for many patients, it may not be suitable for everyone. Some patients may experience side effects from dry needling, such as temporary soreness, bleeding, or bruising. Additionally, patients with certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders or infections, may not be good candidates for dry needling. It is important to discuss any concerns or medical conditions with your physiotherapist before beginning dry needling treatment.

Overall, dry needling is an effective treatment for musculoskeletal pain. It provides immediate relief, improves muscle function and range of motion, and has long-term benefits for many patients. If you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain and are interested in exploring dry needling as a treatment option, be sure to discuss it with your physiotherapist. They can help you determine if dry needling is a good option for you and provide guidance on how to proceed with treatment.

What can Dry Needling help with courtesy of Aurora Sports Medicine Professionals

How physiotherapy and dry needling work together

Physical Therapy is a form of treatment centred around exercise, education, and manual therapy designed to restore a person’s function and healthy well-being after an injury.  It is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical approach to pain management that can help patients recover from injuries and improve their overall physical function. By combining these techniques including dry needling, physiotherapists can provide a comprehensive approach to pain management and recovery.

One of the key benefits of physiotherapy is the personalized approach to treatment. Each patient is unique, and a physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment, communicate a diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to their individual needs. This can involve the use of dry needling, but it can also include other techniques that are better suited to the patient’s specific condition.

Physiotherapy can also help to prevent future injuries. By working with a registered physiotherapist, patients can learn exercises and techniques that can improve their overall physical function and reduce their risk of future injuries. This can be particularly helpful for athletes or anyone who engages in physical activity on a regular basis.

Overall, physiotherapy is an effective approach to pain management and recovery. It is a non-invasive, personalized approach that can help patients improve their physical function and reduce their pain. Dry needling is one technique that is commonly used in physiotherapy, and it can provide immediate relief for many patients.


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dry needling may cause some discomfort during the treatment.  Most people describe the sensation as a mild, dull ache during the procedure.  After the treatment, patients may experience lasting discomfort for a short period of time.  Your physiotherapist will discuss this with you and determine the amount of treatment on your first session.

Dry needling should not damage nerves when performed by a qualified practitioner. The needles used are very thin and designed to avoid piercing through nerves and blood vessels. 

Dry needling is often used to reduce pain and tension in the muscles over the long term. Research has shown that it can be effective in relieving pain, increasing mobility, and improving muscle function.  By restoring this muscle function, patients can correct their problems completely and work towards preventative strategies.

About Mike Pameli

Nobleton Physiotherapy Nobleton Ontario Physiotherapy Mike

In 2003, Mike graduated from the University of Toronto’s Bachelor of Physiotherapy program and completed his undergraduate studies from McMaster University’s Bachelor of Kinesiology program. Mike draws on over 17 years of experience in providing advanced manual therapy treatments to mainly an orthopaedic clientele. His postgraduate education includes FCAMPT designation for successful completion of the advanced orthopaedic manual therapy program, acupuncture certification with the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada, and CIDN designation representing certified integrated dry needling. Mike has worked in a variety of settings from workplace rehab, sidelines of athletic events, and overseas in New Zealand where he gained valuable experience working with a variety of athletes. He has also acquired extensive training and knowledge in sports physiotherapy, sports taping, K-taping techniques, and vestibular rehab treatments. Mike remains active in the community with ongoing lectures to a variety of sports organizations, community groups, and local family physicians. During his recreational time, Mike enjoys staying active with golf, tennis, workouts, and coaching youth in baseball and hockey. Mike is currently the Clinic Director of Aurora Sports Medicine Professionals.


Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

Book Your Free Consult

Or Fill Out This Form & Get A Call Back

By submitting this form you are consenting to receiving appointment reminders, exercise plans, plans of care, and any relevant services from Integra Health Centre and painhero.ca. Your email will never be sold and you can unsubscribe at any time.