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What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a technique in which a fine needle is used to penetrate the skin, subcutaneous (underlying) tissue, and muscle; and is is often used to treat myofascial trigger points (MTrPs), which are described as localised hypersensitive spots in a palpable taut band of a muscle (Gattie et al.,2017).

What are trigger points?

Trigger points are hyper-irritable spots that can be classified as active MTrPs that produce spontaneous pain and when palpated can produce a very familiar pattern of one’s pain.  Latent MTrPs do not produce spontaneous pain and are only painful on palpation. These Myofascial trigger points are commonly associated with musculoskeletal pain (Kietrys et al.,2013)

What is Dry Needling useful for?

Dry needling can be used as a mode of treatment for various musculoskeletal conditions wherein MTrPs can be identified. These conditions could be related to neck, shoulder, upper and lower back, hip, knee and foot pain.

How does it work?

Although the main mechanism underlying the effects of dry needling remains to be elucidated. Research implies that Dry needling may elicit local and central nervous system responses to re-establish a balanced and stable physiological process at the site of MTrPs. This further helps in temporarily reducing pain and improving range of motion (Gattie et al.,2017).

What should I expect before, during and after?

Your treating Physiotherapist will guide you through each step of the process and explain what is to be expected post needling.


1) Gattie, E., Cleland, J.A. and Snodgrass, S., 2017. The effectiveness of trigger point dry needling for musculoskeletal conditions by physical therapists: a systematic review and meta-analysis. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy, 47(3), pp.133-149.

2) Kietrys, D.M., Palombaro, K.M., Azzaretto, E., Hubler, R., Schaller, B., Schlussel, J.M. and Tucker, M., 2013. Effectiveness of dry needling for upper-quarter myofascial pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy, 43(9), pp.620-634.

For more information contact The Physio Clinic on 8342 1233 or click below to book online.


By Samantha David | Senior Physiotherapist / Clinical Educator Prospect