Dry Needling Overview

Dry needling is a technique used to treat myofascial pain, without opioids. The technique uses a “dry” (non-medicated) filiform needle inserted through the skin into a trigger point to release tension, increase range of motion and promote blood flow to the area to activate your body’s natural ability to heal itself. If we can eliminate the source of your ongoing pain, you may be able to stop taking pain meds which only mask the pain but don’t address the root cause.


What is a trigger point?

You might know a trigger point as a “knot.” It is a taut band of muscle inside a larger muscle group. Sometimes they are easy to locate, sometimes they are undetectable by untrained hands. It can be tender to the touch or may cause more widespread pain than just in the muscle in which it is found. It may also be referred to as myofascial pain syndrome.


The benefits of Dry Needling at NC Center for Physical Therapy include:

It is very difficult for your doctor to identify the sources of referred pain if they only spend 15-20 minutes with you. At NC Center for Physical Therapy, a physical therapist will spend an hour with you on your first visit to identify the root cause of your pain. Dry Needling is a strong tool in our physical therapists toolbox that can be used to develop your comprehensive treatment plan to eliminate the root cause without prescribing meds.

You can usually see a physical therapist in NC without a referral from a doctor.

Dry Needling will only be used if it is appropriate for the symptoms you are experiencing.

Dry Needling will only be performed by a trained and Certified Integrated Dry Needling (CIDN) therapist.

We have had so much success with Dry Needling, we will do the first dry needling treatment free of charge so you can determine its effectiveness for you. Our goal is to help you reach your goal. If dry needling can get you there faster, we want to give you that option.


Common Questions

Is Dry Needling the same as acupuncture?

While Dry needling does use similar needles as acupuncture, dry needling is not acupuncture. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system and can boost your body’s natural painkillers. Dry Needling involves a “dry” (non-medicated) filiform needle inserted into trigger points, or “knots”, to relieve muscle tightness, increase range of motion, create a lesion in the tissue which promotes blood flow to the area and activates your body’s natural ability to heal itself and ultimately eliminate the knot.

Does Dry Needling hurt?

Dry Needling can pinch slightly when the needle is being inserted into the skin. Many people don’t even feel the needle being inserted. As opposed to a larger needle used for vaccines, dry needling involves a thin filiform needle that penetrates the skin to stimulate the underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues. The needle allows our physical therapists to target tissues that may not be manually palpable.

Is there any research behind Dry Needling?

Preliminary research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. North Carolina Center for Physical Therapy has had a lot of success with Dry Needling to speed up our patient’s road to recovery.

Should I try Dry Needling?

Have you been to a doctor or other healthcare provider, including physical therapists, and not been able to resolve your pain? Do you take pain meds to mask your pain so you can get through the day? Do you want to stop taking opioids and other pain medications? Dry Needling might be a step in your road to recovery.

Are all PT’s trained and certified in Dry Needling in NC?

No, all PT’s are not trained and certified. You should ensure your PT is trained and certified. NCCPT has two Certified Integrated Dry Needling (CIDN) providers:

Dr. Colten Sullivan, DPT, CSCS has completed the Level 1 course on the Theory, Practice, and Clinical Application of Master Dry Needling with training in the Neurological Dry Needling for Pain Management and Sports Rehabilitation.

Our owner, Misty Pidgeon, PT, CIDN, has completed both Level 1 and Level 2 in the following extensive training and testing: Master Dry Needling with training in the Neurologic Dry Needling for Pain Management and Sports Rehabilitation, and Advanced Neurologic Dry Needling for Pain Management and Human Performance.

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