Origin Rehab Physical Therapy, Health, And Wellness

Dry Needling Near Me,Dry Needling,Dry Needling Physical Therapy,Trigger Point Dry Needling

The Ultimate Guide to Dry Needling Therapy

Dry Needling Near Me,Dry Needling,Dry Needling Physical Therapy,Trigger Point Dry Needling

We get a lot of questions about dry needling from patients who have heard about the procedure from a friend or family member. Other times, we recommend dry needling to patients who have not previously considered it but may benefit. Understanding the procedure and dispelling myths about what dry needling is and is not will help you decide whether it’s for you.

Certification to Perform Dry Needling

In 2010 later updated in 2017, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, an organization that advises state regulatory boards regarding physical therapy policy development, first published a white paper (link here) detailing the required to safely perform dry needling in a clinical setting. They determined that roughly 85% of the knowledge required to safely perform dry needling was required of entry level clinical staff. The remaining 15%, primarily needle technique and clinical decision making regarding the need for dry needling, could be learned through classroom study, lab practice, and testing.

Knowing that your provider is an expert in the technique and has been specifically certified to perform needling can help ease initial fears. The physical therapist at Origin Rehabilitation is certified in dry needling through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT). It is our strict policy that any clinician performing dry needling be certified by a recognized industry educational leader. We can perform dry needling treatment at our physical therapy clinic in Mint Hill or through our mobile service.

What is Trigger Point Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a procedure where a very thin needle is used to penetrate the skin to reach the trigger point or “knot” within the muscle. These trigger points can cause pain and limit movement.  A variety of techniques can be used which can include either removal of the needles immediately or leaving the needle(s) in place for a period of up to 20 minutes.

Once the needle has been placed, the physical therapist may manipulate the needle in several ways depending on the intent of the treatment. The needle may be left in place for a period of time, moved up and down with a technique known as “pistoning”, turned until resistance or stretching is felt.  Pistoning with movement, often in a circle is known as fanning or coning and used to effect a wider area than pistoning alone could.  Twisting until resistance is felt then gently pulling is a technique known as “tenting” and used to stretch very specific tissue.

Dry needling is not acupuncture. We do not claim to know what acupuncture is and all that it can do but understand it to be a key component of traditional Chinese medicine using needles at strategic places on the body to influence energy flow and treat a variety of conditions and ailments. Origin Rehabilitation uses a similar needle product, though with a western medicine understanding of ailments and the intent to influence specific soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) often showing signs and symptoms of injury. Many of our patients also seek acupuncture treatment in addition to supplement our treatments.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

The answer to this question is a little complicated.  With such a wide variety of techniques, there are also a number of different ways dry needling is thought to work:

● Leaving the needling in place for a period of time.

Thought to trigger an autoimmune response to the area as your body recognizes a foreign substance – the sterile stainless steel needle – to defend from infection. Often this involves triggering a hyper-local (right where the problem is) inflammatory response.

● Pistoning and Fanning

Since we are causing a “micro-trauma” by poking tissue with the very thin needle, the same inflammatory response that answers when you have a cut is active here. Your body senses “damage,” which we cause by poking chronically inflamed muscle which triggers an acute inflammatory response to heal the chronically irritated tissue.

● Twisting and Tenting

The intent of trigger point dry needling is to remedy spasmed or hyperactive muscle tissue. This technique is used to effect a hyper-local stretch in an effected muscle. Instead of a broad stretch of the hamstrings, we may locate a spasm in the lower portion of the biceps femoris – long head (one of the individual muscles in the group that makes up the hamstrings). We would hold the “tent” for a similar amount of time we hold a traditional stretch.

What Conditions Does Dry Needling Help?

Dry needling can help with a variety of conditions pain or limited mobility.  A short list of conditions helped by dry needling includes:

● Arthritis – Generally Osteo Arthritis & not Rheumatoid Arthritis

● Carpel Tunnel

● Headaches

● Muscle Spasm

● Plantar Fasciitis

● Sciatica

● Sprains & Strains

● Tendonitis – Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Achilles Tendinitis, Rotator Cuff, etc.

● TMJ disorders

What Risks Are Associated with Dry Needling?

The best research to date describes dry needling as a very safe treatment. While we take all necessary precautions to prevent adverse events from happening, invasive procedures like dry needling will carry a certain amount of risk. In the most comprehensive studies, up to 8.6% of patients reported experiencing at least 1 side effect.

● Minor bleeding, bruising, and pain – most common

● Feeling tired, faint, nauseated, dizzy, or sweating – less common

● Infection – no reports of infection from dry needling found in published literature.

● Broken needle – very rare (less than 1 / 10,000 treatments)

● Pneumothorax – very rare (less than 0.01/10,000 treatments or 1/1,000,000) and can only happen when needling in the thoracic area (the area covered by the rib cage)

Does Dry Needling Hurt

Having performed dry needling on several hundred patients, I can safely say that the experience is unique to the individual. Most patients don’t report pain with the initial insertion of the needle. However, many do complain of an increase in pain with manipulation of the needles. This is understandable since we are often inserting the needles into already irritated tissue. Sometimes muscles will “twitch” which can be surprising and create soreness, especially the next day.

The end product, however, is expected to be pain relief. Whether the temporary discomfort of needles outweighs the on-going discomfort from your current condition is a discussion that you will have with your physical therapist.


● You should look for a physical therapist certified to perform dry needling therapy. Since not all states require certification, it’s an important question to ask before getting the treatment.

● Dry needling can be a part of your physical therapy plan to address pain and/or limited mobility. It is a supplement to your program and not the ONLY treatment that should be provided by your physical therapist.

● Often dry needling can accelerate recovery from short term or chronic soft tissue conditions.

● The specific needling technique used will be chosen based on your condition and the expected outcomes. In short, dry needling is expected to produce reduced pain and improved soft tissue mobility.

● Serious complications from dry needling are extremely rare. Minor side effects, like minor bleeding and bruising, are more common and resolve independently.

The Hidden Cause of Your Constant Neck & Upper Back Pain

Neck pain and upper back pain may be two of the most common ailments people experience. From struggling to move your neck, to worrying about the position you sit in on your favorite sofa, pain in the upper torso is debilitating. Yet, many of those who experience these kinds of issues haven’t suffered a fall, twisted their necks unnaturally, or been on rollercoasters since their pain started. For most people, the cause of neck pain or upper back discomfort can’t be pinpointed: there is no single unique moment in which their backs or necks could have been injured. What then? How did they come to be in so much pain? And if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking the same thing about yourself. Fear not, however, because we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll be investigating the hidden causes that have led to your neck and upper back pain. We’ll also be looking at what to do about it and which steps to take next.

The really frustrating thing about constant neck and upper back pain is that, no matter what you seem to do, it just doesn’t want to disappear. You’ve tried everything: hot water bottles, massages, and even long periods of rest, yet nothing has changed, right? Well, the truth is, it isn’t going to get any better unless you find out exactly why you’re experiencing the pain. See, the thing is, neck and upper back pain often have pretty mundane sources: your everyday habits might be the culprits here. Thus, no matter what you do, if you don’t start there, nothing will change. In lieu of this, take a look at some of the fairly common mistakes people make:

Lack of Exercise

Now, I can hear you thinking from here… “I should be resting my muscles, not moving them!” Well, no, not really. By not moving enough, you are actually setting your recovery back considerably. Muscles and joints need to move in order to maintain mobility. If you aren’t moving your upper back and neck enough, your muscles will start to stiffen and shorten, thereby placing stress on your joints and decreasing overall movement. This invariably leads to the pain you’re experiencing now. So, while rest may intuitively feel like the right thing to do, it may actually be doing more harm than good. Why not try doing some gentle stretches to loosen up the painful area? Furthermore, if you sit at a desk for long periods of time, be mindful of getting up regularly and stretching your neck and upper back. Walk around a bit and, during your time off, take up a new sport like cycling, walking, or swimming.


Having bad posture is one of the leading causes of upper back and neck pain. Slouching leads to a variety of ailments in the long run, but a tell-tail sign of poor alignment is the nagging discomfort you come to experience in your upper torso. Start becoming mindful of how you sit and stand: make sure your spine is aligned correctly. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, make sure your chair supports your back correctly, and that your computer – if you use one – is at eye-level.

Everyday Habits: Strain on you Upper Back and Neck

You may not know this, but some of the things you do daily actually affect your upper back and neck considerably. Think about driving, for example. How long do you sit in the car for? And, when you drive, do you turn your neck or just blink into the rear-view mirror when necessary? These are the types of things you need to start considering when it comes to the health of your upper back and neck. How long do you stare at your phone for, and do you slouch while you do it? When you bend down to pick up the groceries, the school bags, or your pot plants, do you do it mindfully or without regard for your upper back and neck? What about when you clean the house, play golf, brush your teeth and hair, or shave your legs? All these daily decisions and actions accumulate over time, and the effect their incorrect execution may have is usually far too understated. Make a change today: be mindful and cognizant of how you do certain tasks, how often you do them, and whether you’re aware of what your body is trying to signal to you. The devil is in the details.

When it comes to tackling the issue of upper back and neck pain, as has been mentioned earlier, movement is your best friend. Move as much as you can and as often as you can. Be conscious of the fact, however, that you should always be sensitive to the type of activities you’re able to do. Some safe activities on your road to health include Pilates and yoga, both of which offer you the opportunity to enhance the flexibility and mobility of you upper back and neck muscles. You could also try walking, swimming, and relaxing hikes in order to jumpstart your journey to a pain free life.

In addition to the extra physical activities we suggest, physical therapy is by far the best, safest and most effective way of tackling and overcoming your upper back and neck pain. With the help of a professional, hands-on physical therapist, you’ll not only find the root cause of the problem, but your particular issue will be treated accordingly, thereby permanently relieving your pain. And not only that, a physical therapist with equip you with the tools to maintain your pain free life by giving you tailor-made stretches and exercise routines suited to you personally. Physical therapy will mobilize your joints, relieve stiffness, and rid you of your pain so that you can enjoy the life you deserve.

If you’re unsure about where to start, or you feel discouraged by the daily pain you’re enduring, contact us today. We’re here to uncover the hidden causes of your neck and upper back pain so that you can get back to living the life you dream of. We invite you to fill out the form below in order to speak to one of our highly qualified, professional physical therapists… find out how we can help you eliminate your pain, today!