More and more physical therapists (like those Portsmouth Physical Therapy) are utilizing a new technique that’s effective at providing relief for your aches and pains: dry needling. The technique – which is NOT acupuncture, or the manipulation of the body’s energy – works directly on the painful points in muscles commonly referred to as trigger points.

Those trigger points are a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Tender to the touch, a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body. “Think of muscles as a rope,” says Matt Minard, DPT, a physical therapist with Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, NC. “If you get a knot, it can affect the muscle’s ability to contract, lengthen or function properly.” Using a needle the thickness of a human hair, he says he can break up that pesky knot (Men’s Health).

When dry needling is used by physical therapists, it is typically one attribute of a larger treatment plan. The goal of dry needling is to release trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. Preliminary research show that dry needling improves pain, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. This can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation. Evidence demonstrates that dry needling can provide aide for the following problems:

Lower back pain



Post-op pain

Rotator cuff injury

Jaw pain

Hip pain

Upper back pain

Stroke rehab

Heel pain

If you have an injury or are suffering from any type of pain, Portsmouth Physical Therapy is here to help. Our physical therapists are highly trained in the latest treatment techniques – including advanced training in dry needling – and offer only evidence based approaches in treating musculoskeletal injuries. We help you get back to your optimal best!



Published June 19, 2017 | Posted in Portsmouth PT Blog Posts.