What is Dry Needling?

What is dry needling

At Inline Physio, we use Myofascial Dry Needling as part of the treatment and management of numerous conditions, but we are often asked what it is, and what does it do.

Our Physiotherapist Courtney answers a range of FAQs about dry needling in this video and in the blog below.


What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling, also known as “Western dry needling” or “Western medical acupuncture”, is a skilled intervention that uses a thin needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points and connective tissues to manage neuro musculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.

Dry needling can be used to:

  • Treat dysfunctions in skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissue.
  • Diminish persistent peripheral nociceptive input (a.k.a. pain).
  • Reduce or restore impairments of body structure and function leading to improved activity and participation.

How does Dry Needling work?

It is based on finding Myofascial trigger points and eliciting a “local twitch response”.

“Myo” means muscle, “fascia” means tissue. A trigger point is a common term to describe a painful area in the muscle belly (the meaty part of the muscle).

Dry needling works by local, segmental, and autonomic pathways in the body.

Local effects 

These are typically results you can see immediately.

  • It involves stimulating the nerve fibres in the skin and muscle. This can elicit a sensation of a deep ache in the trigger point.
  • Erythema (redness of the skin) which is a sign of release of neuropeptides and histamine
  • Increased blood flow and invoking the body’s natural response to injury and subsequent healing

Pain blocking effects  

  • It may temporarily inhibit the constant pain messages that are sent via nerve pathways from the brain to the spinal cord and then to the local area (eg. arthritic hip pain)

Chemical pain relief effects

  • It may produce a pain relief effect that’s similar to opioids, by releasing pain-relieving chemicals that your body already has in store.


Does Dry Needling hurt?

Most people are relieved to find out that dry needling it is not as painful as they expected.

You may experience a pin prick sensation as the needle penetrates through the first layer of skin, then if it elicits muscle stimulation – which is what we want – you will experience a deep ache. For many people this ache will feel like pressing on a bruise.

Some people experience a delayed soreness for 12-24 hours, but this feeling is also like a bruise and will go away.

Why we Integrate Dry Needling into Physiotherapy Treatments

Dry needling is one of many tools that physiotherapists at Inline Physio may use during your rehabilitation to provide temporary pain relief and increased range of motion.

It’s helpful to be aware that it may or may not be necessary during your treatment depending on where your pain is coming from. This is something your physiotherapist can discuss with you.

If your health professional is qualified to perform dry needling, they will have extensive training on how to treat you safely and effectively with this method.

Important note: Dry needling should be used in addition to your rehab exercises and never as a single method of your treatment. The reason for this is that if your muscle pain is a result of a postural, biomechanical or movement problem, the dry needling will help in the short term, but if you do not address the true source of the problem your pain will come back again. 

Talk to your Brisbane Physio about Treatments

Do you have any other questions about dry needling? Are you wondering if it might be an option for your treatment?

Please feel free to ask your physiotherapist any other questions you might have.

We have clinics in Ashgrove, Moorooka and Samford Village. You can contact our team here.



CPD Health Courses – Intro and Advanced Dry Needling